At Launch: HTC Vive’s Most Inventive Games

htcSammy Cooper and Ebenezer Nkengfack

The age of virtual reality is here: the Vive, a VR headset designed and created by mobile giant HTC and operated using Valve’s SteamVR technology, launched last week. It joins the Oculus Rift, the pioneering headset that was released at the end of March. The Vive is distinguished by room-scale technologyy distinguishes, however, which enables the player to bodily walk around a small space in the home instead of remaining stationary. Some genuinely inventive games have been in development for the system. Here are a few of our favourites.

AudioShield

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Everyone loves a good rhythm game now and then, and AudioShield takes the genre to the next and most immersive level. In the game, the player is standing in one spot but must move the Vive controllers and hit some rhythmically-charged coloured blobs that are approaching the player at rapid speeds. One of the controllers is blue, and the other is orange, and the player must hit the right coloured blobs with their corresponding controller. The concept is simple, but it makes for a wild bit of fun – and also good exercise – to break up between all the defence shooters and exploration games hitting the Vive. The game was made by the same developers as Audiosurf, a game that lets you take your own music and turn it into a rhythm game, and AudioShield lets you do this as well.

The game takes a unique approach to the Vive controllers, where you must aim them in specific places to a tune, instead of using them to shoot or throw things. It is available now on Steam for £14.99, and will definitely be able to take up a few hours of your time. This game makes great use of room-scale tech, but you often find yourself running out of room and having to re-centre yourself, thanks to all the leaping around trying to catch the coloured blobs.

Final Approach

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This game puts the player in control of a fairly active airport, allowing you to control the flight paths of planes and bring them into landing. The game starts off pretty simple, and involves you sorting passenger planes with no risk. Later on, though, the game’s difficulty ramps up immensely, putting the lives of fighter pilots in your hands as they do combat. You must direct where they are to shoot and make sure you land them for repairs before they get destroyed. The game behaves similarly to the 2D mobile game, Flight Control, but Final Approach makes you feel like a kid playing with toy airplanes, and then a wartime battle commander whose subordinates’ lives are at your fingertips.

The game is on Steam for £18.99, which is definitely worth the price for the hours of fun you’re bound to have. What’s more, the developers are planning to add more content post-launch in order for you to satisfy your need for a truly amazing use of VR technology.

Tilt Brush

‘Tilt Brush’ is a title coming exclusively to Valve HTC Vive in April 2016. It’s less of a game and more of an experience; an app that allows you to express yourself through art in a way never realised before.

‘Tilt Brush’ allows the 3D space around you to be your canvas. Your art jumps out at you and this is achieved through the Vive’s motion tracking handheld controllers, which within the app doubles as your paintbrush. The paintbrush isn’t just limited to typical outputs such as ink or pencil, but snow and fire can be utilised to make surreal pieces of art that are living and breathing things.

Even simplistic art work glistens in your three-dimensional canvas, enabling you to rotate your masterpiece as you wish. Art can also be shared with others, as a full-scale room masterpiece, or just an animated GIF. The sharing of art is sure to display the serious talent out there, untapped by current art mediums. This will be done through a smartphone art app which allows you to browse other artworks.

The prospect of a drawing app in a 3D space is a fresh and exciting take on art apps and takes it to the next level with VR. The freedom of expression allowed in ‘Tilt Brush’ will surely blow people’s minds, considering the possibilities.

‘Tilt Brush’ is out now for HTC Vive, and is available on Steam for £22.99

Fantastic Contraption

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‘Fantastic Corporation’ is a game coming exclusively to the HTC Vive VR headset that tests your mind in increasingly challenging physics based puzzles that must be solved.

The game tasks you with engineering various vehicles to carry a jelly ball from one place to another. How you achieve this however, is up to you. Obstacles litter the path to your goal. Physics play a big part in your problem solving, so this has to be kept in mind when creating contraptions to overcome the forces that oppose you.

Part of the charm of ‘Fantastic Contraption’ is seeing your inventions spring and wobble into life. These machines are your own creations, and can be created by your own hands, by putting together odds and ends of various shapes and sizes. They can be tweaked or even completely cast aside in response to your hand movements.

This title only gets more rewarding the further you progress, requiring even more elaborate and complex machines to convey your jelly ball to its location. This is not just a mindlessly fun game, it is a title that will require you to think about the best course of action to proceed onwards. A problem solving VR title that’ll bring your creativity or ingenuity into the equation.

‘Fantastic Contraption’ is out now, and available on Steam for £29.99.

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