App Lab Roundup: Vegetables and Hover Racing

Each week we will be taking a look at some of the upcoming videogames, demos and unique experiences available through Oculus App Lab for the Meta Quest headsets. Many of these videogames come in varying states of completion, so each title is subject to change.

This week we’re feeding vegetables and racing at speed!

I’m not entirely sure why anthropomorphic vegetables would want to eat chocolate chip cookies, but I feel like if I focus too hard on this the questions would continue spiralling out of control. Let’s just accept it. In Cookie Gardening you sit in a garden with lots of cute vegetables scurrying around; broccoli, potatoes, carrots and many more are darting around and it’s your job to catch them, put them in a basket and sell them.

How do you catch them? Easy, you drop cookies nearby and wait until they dash in before you snag them and throw them in the basket. I’d love to tell you what the point is, but I have no clue, and I’m not sure it even matters. After a successful hunt in the garden, you can head over to a shop to spend your hard-earned gold on upgrades, more bait cookies and new variants of the vegetables.

One of the first upgrades you’ll buy is an office, where a fussy VEGETABLE gives you particular tasks to earn bonus rewards. For example, collecting three types of potato rewards some extra gold.

Due to the very loose reasons to be in the garden hunting vegetables, and the ease with which the game plays, this would be ideal for a first VR game for kids. You don’t have to move around in reality, the veggies are easy to catch, everything is colourful and cute and the repetitive nature of the gameplay would attract children over adults. It’s a solid demo and a must-try for families with a Quest headset.

Omega Pilot

Omega Pilot uses asynchronous multiplayer to pit you against players from around the world (though real-time multiplayer is on the way) and I’m glad that real people didn’t have to witness me pilot my hovercraft into the walls. And floor. Or barrel roll it upside-down and barely bring it back to its correct position. I’m a terrible Omega Pilot.

Taking its cues from the Wipeout franchise – high-speed, angular, hovering vehicles – I found myself a pilot desperately trying to grasp control of the ship. Oddly, Omega Pilot has chosen to only use motion controls to steer the craft and they’re very sensitive. Holding the grip button and rotating your hand will roll the vehicle, and tilting it up and down will change the nose height. This all happens while holding the trigger to accelerate. This is all on the right controller, with the left taking care of button presses for a turbo boost and a slow-motion ability. 

By the end of my first race, I felt like I’d taken an unfortunate tumble in a washing machine. My vehicle was spinning, bumbling and what I can only call, careening, in every direction except the one I wanted. At points my vehicle was trying to impale itself nose-first into the ground, other times I would head into a corner feeling as if I was at the perfect angle only to run straight into a wall.

By the end of my first session I felt nauseous and a bit frustrated. Motion controls are great when done well and for many, these are probably fine, but leaving out stick movement feels like a misstep. In a racing world where sometimes up can become down swiftly, the addition of balancing motion controls feels a little overwhelming. I can imagine that for many, Omega Pilot would feel ‘too much’ and a little alienating.