Ruinsmagus Review: A Gorgeous But Repetitive VR Dungeon Crawler

Ruinsmagus boasts fantastic art and solid combat but its dungeon raids can’t stave off repetition. Read on for our full Ruinsmagus review.

Speaking as someone that doesn’t have any special affinity for the medium, I have to admit anime works really well in VR. You can really feel those big, bug-eyed characters staring into your soul and the connective tissue between player and NPC grows faster than it does in more realistic worlds. Plus the overall visual style really pops inside a headset.

Ruinsmagus uses this to great effect. It’s a warm-hearted adventure that features many of the hallmarks of great anime: an enthusiastic and personable cast, sprawling lore to flesh out its idyllic world and a sweeping score that perfectly touches on both the comedic and dramatic at the right moments. As with Tokyo Chronos and others before it, it really feels like stepping into worlds previously only glanced at in manga and on screens. As a piece of VR presentation, Ruinsmagus is a love letter ready to be signed, sealed and delivered.

Some of its other elements aren’t quite there yet, though.

There is, in fairness, surprising depth to this VR dungeon crawler. Playing as a member of the titular guild, you spend your days venturing beyond a small settlement and into a set of ancient ruins to gradually uncover their mysteries. Stone guardians stalk the hallways, ready to dish out bullet hell-style attacks. To fend them off, you wield a variety of magic attacks as you defend yourself with a shield.

To its credit, developer CharacterBank has put a lot of thought into the game’s combat. You have a standard ranged attack backed up by two special moves — all of which can be swapped out with new abilities unlocked through story progression — and a combination of short dash moves and timing-based shield parrying give you lots of options on both the offensive and defensive sides.

Ruinsmagus New Image

And, when it clicks, Ruinsmagus’ action is pretty great. You can preemptively cast an ice turret or magic shield to hide behind before enemies pop up, and then circle aroun d them with dashes to avoid damage as you throw fireballs, summon lighting or charge a barrage of bullets. It might not be an excessively physical experience, but the use of shields and some gestures at least keeps the action rooted in VR more than a lot of other games can muster.

But this much versatility comes at the cost of some intuition. The control scheme can be awkward, with major actions assigned to strange combinations and gestures. Reloading requires you to point downward and then press both the right grip and trigger buttons at the same time. Without staring directly at your hand to view the animation, you never quite know if you did it right. Changing items is done by flicking an analog stick upward, which makes it tough to quickly cycle through them in the middle of a fight and can be frustrating when you’re in dire need of a healing potion.

Your familiarity with the controls will improve with practice but the overall layout could do with a rethink. Items are located on your chest and you can easily grab them by accident instead of summoning a special move, and many spells require you to actually throw your attack which is a historically imprecise science for VR.

What’s more problematic, though, is that Ruinsmagus is an inherently repetitive game in just about every respect. The same handful of rooms are used time and again to face off with an increasingly familiar pool of enemy types that don’t require you to change tactics, and many levels feature bullet sponge boss battles that bloat the otherwise brief mission structure.

Though the genre’s already well-served in VR, I suspect this would have worked better as a sharper, more varied roguelite that repurposed many of these mechanics and staved off the tedium. You can practically hear CharacterBank acknowledge these issues as the story progresses. In one section, some of the caverns are redecorated with graffiti, and a smattering of new enemy types are introduced as you progress into new acts.

None of these fundamentally change the core experience, though, and some of the side-plots ultimately come off more as padding than anything else. Unless you’re absolutely speeding through the campaign without taking in the story it’ll take you at least seven or eight hours to see through all the missions, but there isn’t enough variety here to sustain your interest all the way through.

But, while sometimes stale, the game’s combat is never bad, and fans of anime in general will likely find it worth seeing through to enjoy the other aspects of the game. As you play, more areas of the town open up and, though superficial, it’s a soothing delight to explore, meet wholesome characters and take pictures at cafes and stores.

There’s even the occasional flash of genuine brilliance like boss introductions take place through 3D virtual windows and offer fun, stylized sequences. Some of the cast you’ll meet are a joy to interact with like your plucky sidekick, Iris, and the combination of beautiful cobbled streets and calming violin tracks is enough to make you want to stay a minute or two longer in some areas.


Some of this is spoiled by some fairly common launch bugs, including one that makes characters appear as ghostly silhouettes missing their textures, and the dialogue could use another pass for typos, but I’m hopeful these will be fairly quick fixes.

Ruinsmagus Review – Final Impressions

Ruinsmagus is a gorgeous game with a lot to love, but it’s a padded experience that quickly succumbs to repetition. While the combat itself is engaging, heading into the same set of ruins — often even the exact same rooms — to fight the same enemies for the 100th time soon wears thin, and more could have been done to switch up the experience over the course of its campaign. Still, from a purely presentational perspective, the game is an absolute delight and a joy to spend time in. For some, that will be enough to love Ruinsmagus, but the game would need some core structural changes to become a true VR classic.

UploadVR recently changed its review guidelines, and this is one of our new unlabelled review categories. You can read more about our review guidelines here

What did you make of our Ruinsmagus review? Let us know in the comments below!

Walkabout Mini Golf’s Labyrinth Collab Launches This Month, First Footage Here

Walkabout Mini Golf’s much anticipated Labyrinth DLC is coming this month, and we’ve got a first look at it.

The DLC — first announced in March — will launch on July 28, bringing scenes and characters from the iconic Jim Henson movie to VR for the first time. In the video below, developer Mighty Coconut joins members of the Jim Henson company to talk about the creation of the course.

Walkabout Mini Golf Labyrinth DLC Release Date Revealed

The video shows how some of the ideas and concepts from the movie are translating into VR. You’ll notice a lot of famous scenes that have almost been renovated in VR to become golf courses. As Game Director Lucas Martell puts it in the clip: “This is definitely going to be one of the biggest, most ambitious courses that we’ve ever done.”

Meanwhile, a tweet confirmed that the DLC will feature 18 holes with easy and hard versions as well as new Labryrinth-themed avatar customization options, and an original soundtrack. It will also feature eight player groups. Previously the limit had been for up to five players, though it’s unclear if the new player count will be supported across other levels.

Further down the line, Walkabout is also getting tie-in DLC for Myst along with a steady stream of original courses, too.

Are you going to be picking up the Labyrinth DLC for Walkabout? Let us know in the comments below!

EVE: Valkyrie And Sparc Shutting Down Next Month

CCP Games’ EVE: Valkyrie, one of the first-ever multiplayer VR games, is shutting down next month along with Sparc.

Tweets from both games’ official accounts confirmed the news. Both Valkyrie, a space combat game, and Sparc, which offered Tron-style athletic future sports, will take their remaining servers offline on August 5. After that, the games will no longer be playable.

Valkyrie is of particular significance as one of the first-ever VR games to be announced, serving as a launch exclusive for the Oculus Rift before coming to the HTC Vive and PSVR headsets too. A spin-off of CCP’s popular EVE Online MMO, the game saw you jump into the cockpit of spacecraft and face off with opponents online.

In fact, it’s so old it was one of Upload’s first video reviews, too. Seriously, I can’t even remember who’s narrating this.

Though the news may seem sudden, the writing had long been on the wall for both projects. After previously committing to VR in a big way with new studios and projects, CCP exited the VR market in late 2017, closing those new departments. Valkyrie implemented flatscreen support to help sustain its numbers but its developer, CCP Newcastle, was sold off. Neither game ever ended up releasing on the Quest platform, where many struggling long-time VR developers have gone on to find success.

What are your thoughts on EVE: Valkyrie and Sparc shutting down? Let us know in the comments below!

Zero Caliber On Quest Gets PvP This Month, PC Coming Soon

Zero Caliber: Reloaded, the Quest version of the modern FPS, is getting PvP support soon.

Developer XREAL Games recently confirmed that the standalone edition of the game will get the long-promised mode on July 28. You can see some gameplay from the update in a new trailer below.

Zero: Caliber Reloaded PvP Nears Release

Right now we know that Reloaded PvP will include 4v4 matches with four game modes: Gungame, Team DeathMatch, Death Match and Capture the Flag). This will bring the game up to the same amount of features as rivals like Contractors. We’ll definitely be interested to see how Zero Caliber’s offerings stack up next to those other titles.

As for the original Zero Caliber on PC? XREAL says PvP support is still coming this year and that these modes will have cross-play with the Quest version. That’s significant given that Reloaded currently isn’t cross-play with the original game when it comes to campaign co-op given the differences in missions. From the sounds of it the PvP is being developed to make sure both versions specifically work together.

Mod support for the PvP is also due to arrive later in the year.

Elsewhere XREAL is also working on its upcoming co-op shooter, Gambit. We revealed a first look at gameplay during the Upload VR Showcase last month.

Will you be checking out Zero Caliber’s PvP options? Let us know in the comments below!


2 New Twilight Zone VR Trailers Reveal First Episodes

We’ve got not one but two new Twilight Zone VR trailers, taking a look at the game’s first two episodes.

Both trailers feature more of the mixed reality capture for the game we first debuted at the Upload VR Showcase last month. Check them out below.

New Twilight Zone VR Trailers Revealed

The first trailer shows an experience called Character Building in which players are hunted by a strange creature. You’ll play as a video game director that discovers that, in the words of the game’s official description, “workplace cruelty is a dangerous game.”

The second trailer, meanwhile, was posted over at Den of Greek and takes a look at the second adventure, Terror Firma. This episode seems to be set in a desolate version of London that’s been ruined by an environmental disaster and strange alien enemies. Players head out into the wasteland with the hopes of saving mankind.

The final episode is called Deadline Earth and the game’s store page reveals it will take place on an alien vessel. We’re yet to see a trailer for that one, though.

The Twilight Zone VR is due to launch on Quest 2 on July 14. A PSVR version of the game was previously announced, but it’s not clear when that version might arrive, or if it’s moved over to PSVR 2. It’s being developed by Pocket Money Games with publishing from Fun Train VR. Both are also working on a new Exorcist VR game, too.

Are you going to be picking the game up? Let us know in the comments below!

Stride Gets Fitness UI, Weapons And Quests In Single-Player Update

New content for VR parkour game Stride focuses on the game’s single-player offerings.

The free Guns N’ Drones update is available now on both Quest and PC VR. It mainly features new additions for the Arena and Endless modes. The former gets two new weapons, including an Uzi and a shotgun. There’s also new quest types that see you race ahead of drones or seize control of their data and even lasso them. Check out a trailer for the updates below.

New Stride Updates Arrive

Endless, meanwhile, gets two new pickups. One gives you a speed boost to stay ahead of the wall of death. Another will actually slow down the wall. Plus there are new door types that have you shooting out locks to pass through.

Elsewhere, there’s a new fitness dashboard that tracks how much you’ve been moving over play sessions.

These additions arrive shortly after the launch of the massive multiplayer update for the PC VR version of the game. Currently there’s no word on if that content could come to Quest or PSVR. Developer Joy Way is also working on a single-player campaign for the game but says this is also only announced for PC right now.

Last week Joy Way clarified that it was trying not to “repeat past mistakes” when it comes to how it talks about its games following the cancellation of Outlier and confusion over what features were coming to which versions of the game.

Are you diving into Stride to check out the game’s latest updates? Let us know in the comments below!

New VR Games July 2022: All The Biggest Releases

Looking for the new VR games July 2022 list? We’ve got you covered with our full rundown.

We’re into the second half of the year and things are looking up with a healthy month of good releases. Both PC VR and Quest headsets have a lot of new content to look forward to, so let’s dive right in.

New VR Games July 2022

F1 22 – PC VR

At long last an official F1 game has full PC VR support. Take to the track in the world’s fastest cars and master circuits as you experience pit stops and hard breaks in first-person. We think the VR integration here is very decent, though it could use a few tweaks.

Vail VR Open Beta (July 1) – PC VR

After a lengthy alpha testing phase, Vail is opening up to more players with its beta. Jump into this tactical multiplayer shooter and take on enemy teams in Counter-Strike-style matches.

Ruinsmagus (July 7) – Quest 2, PC VR

This is a VR dungeon crawler in which you repeatedly head into some ancient ruins to take on enemies. Between levels you upgrade your magical attacks and meet new members of a neighboring town. With over 25 missions planned, we’re looking forward to seeing how this one holds up.

PatchWorld (July 7) – Quest

Another VR music maker – PatchWorld is all about creating unique sounds in unique settings and sharing them with friends. Expect multiplayer support and more in future updates.

Thief Simulator VR – Greenview Street (July 7) – Quest 2

Originally on PC VR, a Quest port of this VR stealth game arrives in July. Break into buildings and swipe precious items in this non-violent stealth game that has you upgrading your skills as you go.

Kayak VR: Mirage (July 12) – PC VR

Okay, this time we’re pretty sure it’s coming out. After multiple delays the visually-stunning Kayak VR: Mirage is due to release in mid-July. We recently saw a new environment inspired by Costa Rica and it looks just as gorgeous as the rest of the game.

The Twilight Zone VR (July 14) – Quest 2

A unique take on the classic series that features three stories that put you right in the middle of the action.  We’ll be interested to see if Twilight Zone offers some truly terrifying tales unlike anything else we’ve seen in VR.

Moss: Book II (July 21) – Quest 2

Quill returns for the standalone version of her second adventure. Moss 2 already melted our hearts on PSVR a little earlier this year but we’re looking forward to seeing how the Quest version stacks up too.

And that’s the list of new VR games July 2022 line-up! What are you planning on picking up? Let us know in the comments below.

PSVR 2 Will Use Tobii Eye Tracking, Company Confirms

The upcoming PlayStation VR2 headset will use eye tracking from specialist group, Tobii.

Tobii itself confirmed the news in a press release today. This follows on from a February 2022 announcement that the company was “in negotiation” with Sony to be integrated into the new headset.

PSVR 2 — which doesn’t yet have a release date — is expected to use eye tracking for a variety of applications, including foveated rendering. This refers to a technique that tracks the user’s gaze and then fully renders only the exact center of where they’re looking. Areas in the peripheral vision aren’t fully rendered — a process that’s intended to be imperceptible to the user — reducing the overall demand on the system powering the VR experience.

In other words, this could help PS5 VR games run and look better, though we’re yet to see the feature in action.

For years now Tobii has developed eye tracking hardware that’s already been integrated into other VR headsets. In 2018, for example, the company worked with Qualcomm to develop a standalone VR reference design with eye-tracking. In 2019, Tobii technology was integrated into the HTC Vive Pro Eye. More recently it was integrated into the HP Reverb G2 Omnicept Edition and the Pico Neo 3 Pro Eye.

Tobii says it expects the deal to represent “more than 10%” of its revenue in 2022.

While we still don’t know exactly when PSVR 2 is launching, reports are pointing towards an early 2023 release for the device and today’s announcement does suggest that Sony might only just be assembling all the necessary components to mass produce the device. This would be in line with a report from prominent supply chain analyst, Ming-Chi Kuo, who noted PSVR 2 would begin mass production in H2 2022, speculating this would mean a Q1 2023 launch. As of today it’s H2 2022.

You can keep up with everything we currently know about PSVR 2 right here.

Joy Way Aims For Clearer Communication After Stride PSVR Confusion

Stride and Against developer Joy Way says it is “determined not to repeat our past mistakes” as the studio attempts to move on from issues related to how it communicates publicly.

Joy Way recently increased the price of Stride on PSVR from $14.99 to $19.99 while the company’s Twitter account posted that there’s no confirmation PSVR would see the game’s upcoming single-player campaign, which is coming to PC. If the studio can’t confirm the much needed addition is coming to Sony’s headset, then why increase the price?

The move comes a few months after Joy Way unexpectedly pulled the plug on its roguelite, Outlier, shortly after launching in early access. Responding to questions from UploadVR regarding the confusion surrounding its titles, Joy Way sent over the following statement:

“In response to the concerns of some individual players and members of the VR community, we find it necessary to remind: 

When we mention that particular content is in development, we mean that we’re working on it in general, until we mention otherwise. And when we have more details about whether it will be available on a specific platform or not – we always make an official announcement. The same rule applies to the single-player content with story elements or multiplayer updates in STRIDE.

And until we announce it for specific platforms, we market the game on them as a parkour VR game with 3 game modes available: Endless, Arena, and Time Run (+Multiplayer on some of them). Please consider this when you plan to get the game on any of the platforms. 

Speaking of our price policy, it may vary from platform to platform. It depends on many factors, and we are currently experimenting with it. 

We are determined not to repeat our past mistakes and are now taking a more careful approach to choosing words in relation to any content for our games on any platform. So as not to encourage players to overhype stuff we’re working on”.

Though questions over Stride’s PSVR pricing remain, the company hopes to move on from these communication issues and focus on additional content for Stride alongside its other PC VR project, Against.

VR Awards Group Launching VR/AR Innovation Center In UK

AIXR, the group behind the annual VR Awards and other initiatives, this week announced the launch of a new Centre for Immersive Innovation in the UK.

Set to open in early 2024, the centre will be located in Colchester and will provide access to a range of tools and resources for VR and AR. Those include a mixed reality capture studio and what a press release describes as “dedicated haptic zones” as well as educational events and training.

AIXR Centre 2

There will also be co-working and office spaces along with a function space.

Currently AIXR is looking for early adopters for the space, and you can find out more by filling in a fact sheet at an official website here.

Elsewhere, nominations are still open for this year’s VR Awards, running until July 8. This year’s ceremony will return to an in-person event on November 3.