Djinni & Thaco: Trial By Spire Is An Upcoming VR Tower Defense Game

Tower defense and strategy games are genres that are slowly becoming more and more prevalent in the VR world.

In the early days, many VR developers focused on FPS and puzzle games, but now we’re seeing more and more strategy games emerging as time goes on. Djinni & Thaco: Trial By Spire is one of those games — it’s an upcoming PC VR tower defense game that sees you play as a magical spirit defending a castle from oncoming attacks.

Developed by Dark Catt Studios, the game is a first-person tower defense title where you’ll play as the spirit Djinni working alongside Thaco, the bumbling wizard from the trailer embedded above. In a classic tower defense manner, you’ll be playing to defend Thaco’s castle from attacks sent by the villainous King Crambone.

However, being a magical spirit, you won’t just be working with traditional tower defense structures to protect the castle — you’ll also be able to use spells to bolster your defenses too. The gameplay is a gesture-based experience that “steers away from the standard shooters and sword games that are prevalent in VR today.”

There are multiple levels and extra modes to unlock, totaling at around 30+ hours of content according to Dark Catt. The studio mentions support for HTC Vive (original, Pro and Cosmos) and Oculus Rift headsets, with availability for other headsets coming “at a later date.” These other headsets are likely the Valve Index and Windows MR headsets, which are already listed on the game’s Steam page, but here’s to hoping we see a release on PSVR and Oculus Quest in the future as well.

Djinni & Thaco is coming in Q2 of this year — so sometime in the next two months. It is available to wishlist on Steam and Viveport now.

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HTC Vive Holiday Gift Guide: Accessories, Games, And More For HTC Headsets

The HTC Vive is one of the most popular and enduring lines of PC VR headsets. Whether you’re talking about the original HTC Vive or the newer Vive Cosmos, there are a bunch of different games and accessories you can use with the Vive system. We’ve put together this list for recommendations on accessories, games, and more for HTC’s line of PC VR headsets.

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HTC Vive Cosmos Video


There are a few different HTC Vive headsets.

The original HTC Vive and the HTC Vive Pro both use outside-in tracking systems, which require external sensors mounted in your play area to track your headset and controllers. The newer HTC Vive Cosmos uses an inside-out tracking system with cameras on the headset, which doesn’t require mounting any external tracking system.

The original HTC Vive headset is now discontinued. However, HTC continues to sell used version of the original Vive headset for $399.

Currently, the HTC Pro Starter Kit is on sale for $799 down from $1098 on HTC’s site. This includes the headset, two Vive Wand controllers and two external tracking sensors for mounting. Vive Pro has improved resolution and comfort over the original Vive.

The HTC Vive Cosmos (see our review) is the newest headset in the HTC line (review here), and is available to purchase for $600 on the HTC website.

HTC Vive PC VR System Specs

We’ve got a dedicated guide to help you figure out if your PC is VR ready, but for a quick glance at the raw numbers of what you should look for on your rig take a look at the FAQ on HTC’s site. You can also download and run the Vive Quick Compatability check from there as well.

Games And Apps To Buy And Install

When you first get your HTC Vive system set up, there’s a lot of options on where to start with content.

If you’re looking for something free, there are options such as Rec Room and VRChat, which are sort of social networks full of worlds to explore, games to play, and people to meet with your own customized avatar. Then over on Steam there are tons of free VR experiences and games worth trying, such as Google Earth VR, The Lab, Oculus Dreamdeck, Dear Angelica, Henry, Waltz of the Wizard, Accounting, Bigscreen, AltspaceVR, Mission: ISS, and more.

For a curated list of recommended Vive games that are paid, check our best list that we try to keep updated. As of the time of this writing, it’s missing some more recent games like A Fisherman’s Tale, Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, and Pistol Whip though — which you should totally play.


HTC Vive Wireless Tracking Adapter

htc-vive-wireless-adapter-main-imageThe Vive Wireless Tracking Adapter allows you to free yourself from the tether of the cord connected to your PC, and use your Vive headset wireless.

It is available for the original HTC Vive, the Vive Pro and the Vive Cosmos, however the Cosmos will also require an additional Cosmos Comparability Kit that will be added to the cart during checkout. You can read our review of the Vive Wireless Adapter here, reviewed using the Vive Pro specifically.

The Vive Wireless Adapter is available for the HTC Vive for $248, the HTC Vive Pro for $298, and for the Vive Cosmos for $298. If you already own a Vive Wireless Adapter and want to make it compatible with a Vive Cosmos, you can also buy the Cosmos Compatibility Pack for $49 separately.

Vive Tracker

Vive Trackers 2 New

The Vive Tracker is one of HTC’s more innovative ideas for its VR system. It’s a puck-shaped peripheral you can attach to other objects in compatible apps to bring them into VR. You might, for example, stick it to a toy gun to feel like you’re shooting a real one in VR. Take note, however, that the tracker only works with the Vive and Vive Pro; the Vive Cosmos’ tracking system will not register it. Also bear in mind that only select apps will support the tracker. Your best bet is to get them from HTC directly where you’ll find them for $99 apiece.

AFAITH Charger Stand

This AFAITH charger stand provides a neat and tidy solution to store your original HTC Vive or Vive Pro headset, while also charging your HTC Vive Wands. This looks like a nice option if you’re want to store your Vive or Vive Pro on display next to some other gaming consoles, or even other VR headsets. However, it’s important to note that this stand is not comparable with the newer Vive Cosmos.

The AFATIH Charger Stand is available for $49.

Ceiling Cables

Barring the adapter above, obviously one of the biggest downsides to using a PC VR headset is that, typically, it means having a thick, restrictive wire coming off the side of your face that makes it difficult to move freely and is often a tripping hazard. If you don’t want to shill out for the Vive Wireless Adapter, you could also install a ceiling pulley system so that your cable loops up through the ceiling mount and then goes back down to your PC to get it out of the way. We haven’t used these in our own home setups, but this has great reviews and is widely recommended.

The VeeR VR Cable Management Ceiling Pulley System is available for $17 right now (usually ~$30.)

VR Cover Accessories

htc vive vr cover

VR Cover is a company that’s been around for a while and is known for making accessories designed to make headsets feel more comfortable against the face as well as improve hygiene. We have tested their Quest covers and original Rift covers in the past, but have not tried their Vive and Vive Pro covers. They also don’t offer any covers for the Cosmos yet, but the covers are worth checking out for Vive or Vive pro owners.

Microfiber Cleaning Cloths

microfiber cleaning cloths

If you’re using your headsets a lot, the lenses are going to get foggy and dirty and you’ll want some microfiber cloths to quickly clean the lenses between games and sessions.

You can buy a set of 5 microfiber cleaning cloths for $7.49.

If you have accessories you’ve found improve your experience with the HTC Vive headsets please share in the comments. 

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‘In Death’ Review: Angelic Beauty, But Devilishly Difficult Roguelike Bow-shooter

I find roguelikes to be somewhat masochistic. You play as far as you can even when you know death will put an end to every ounce of hard work you put in—all of it with the knowledge that when you hit the restart button, that everything has changed and all of the challenges are rearranged; a true Sisyphean task that bears out just enough accomplishment to keep you going. This is In Death in a nutshell, a truly challenging VR bow-shooter set in a world where you’re given nearly zero respite, as you’re attacked by some of the most gruesome (and well-realized) goblins to creep out of the Necronomicon.

In Death Review Details:

Official Site

Developer: Sólfar Studios
Available On: Steam (Vive, Rift, Windows VR), Oculus Store (Rift)
Reviewed On: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018


In Death is a bow-shooter in its purest sense. You’ll have to get the feel for the bow’s mechanics to understand where your arrows will eventually fly; you don’t have a handy reticle, and enemy hitboxes are unforgiving, as you’ll regularly see your arrows flying between the gaps in crusaders’ legs, or millimeters above the head of a possessed demon-monk. The shooting mechanic is however rock solid, so the learning curve isn’t nearly as steep as you might think, letting even the newest player get fairly far in their run by keeping a little bit of cautious optimism and tactical room-clearing in mind as they move forward through the nightmarish world.

With a shield in hand, you can protect yourself from most arrow and melee attacks, although you can be quickly overwhelmed if you’re not careful.

Image captured by Road to VR

There’s also a crossbow that you can select at the beginning of your run, but the lack of two-handed stability makes it difficult to use for long shots. I tended to stick to the bow, although the crossbow is useful for quickly knocking arrows for a rapid fire rampage against a room full of ghoulies or sticking as many explosive arrows into a boss as humanly possible. Then again, I’ve gotten pretty quick and accurate with the bow too.


With only six bars of health, and only a few opportunities to heal, you’re most assuredly going to die a miserable death whatever way you slice it. You aren’t going straight to Hell empty-handed though, because upon death you’ll be awarded a number of achievements that change the gameplay somewhat, be it for the better or worse (eg: far-away headshots do more damage, but you unlock harder class of baddie). This is, along with the ability to asynchronously challenge other online players to beat your single-player run through Purgatory, the main attractions to come back to the game after you’ve put it down.

Image captured by Road to VR

Well knowing that it’s a typical roguelike, I still wish In Death had the substance of a single-player game with a campaign and a real story. Alas, this is the genre, and In Death exemplifies it to awesome effect. The level of detail put into In Death is astounding, and can really leave you feeling creeped out at all of the cool and interesting side paths you can take. There’s always a terminus though with a level boss, but there’s also the promise of a demonic, giant version of the Archangel Gabriel should you get far enough (I didn’t. It’s too damn hard).

Image courtesy Solfar Studios

As for controls, you can teleport via either a hand-thrown teleportation ‘shard’ or a teleportation arrow that you load into your weapon. There is however also smooth forward locomotion which can be both head and hand relative. Rift users will also appreciate the variable snap-turn setting should you have the stock 180-degree sensor setup. And yes, there is both a righty and lefty option for weapons and shield.

I’ve played around seven hours of In Death over the course of several sessions, and I’ve yet to reach farther than an hour into the game because of its overall difficulty level. There is no difficulty slider, so you definitely need to temper your expectations when heading in as you make your way through the successively numbered Purgatories. At times, I found In Death too unforgiving. Getting to the level boss can take at very least 30 minutes of clearing out baddies leading up to the dungeon, where you then have to not only kill the boss, but a room of randomly spawning monks and ghoulies too, which is crazy hard without special arrows like poison or explosives, which you pick up eventually after a few deaths. Because there are no saves, you’re doomed to repeat yourself until you finally develop a strategy and get those pickups.

That said, I’m not a giant fan of the genre, although it’s clear In Death has nailed it pretty dead on, and there’s no faulting it for that.


For much of the game you’re treated to a world of a perpetually shining sun that illuminates the fractured, but beautiful Gothic architecture—a tainted Escher-style mishmash of church steeples, monastic courtyards and long bridges that are suspended above the clouds. If it weren’t for all of the possessed monks, zombies, and crusaders trying to kill me, it would seem like a heavenly realm, and less like Purgatory – the Roman Catholic church’s theological supposition that a soul must first enter a hellish state of suffering before going to heaven.

Image courtesy Solfar Studios

The dramatic transitions from dark to light typically signal your impending doom, as you enter close-quarters combat and multiple baddies in a single area. The antithesis of this are the game’s ‘Pits’, which are dedicated dungeons featuring their own bosses.

The game’s positional audio is exceptionally good. While it doesn’t appear to have any type of ambient audio occlusion, each baddie has their own growl, and each thrown weapon that could so damage has a distinct noise, so even if you’re not faced directly towards the oncoming blow, you’ll hear it well in advance. This keeps you not only aware of the baddies in front of you, but gives you enough information to know when a monk has teleported behind you (nothing personal, kid).

Haptics are quite good too, as you draw your bow and feel a sort of progressive rumbling that feels like the growing tension of the bow-string.


Teleportation is one of the most comfortable locomotion options outside of natural, room-scale locomotion. But even if you decide to use smooth forward, which simulates continuous walking, you’ll still be fairly comfortable.

While I prefer to play standing, In Death also includes a seated mode which will put your in-game height to a standing level, making it ideal for anyone with even an arm’s length of space in their play area.

The post ‘In Death’ Review: Angelic Beauty, But Devilishly Difficult Roguelike Bow-shooter appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Twilight Path’ Review – Puzzles Missing Purpose

From the makers of FORM (2017), a well regarded indie VR puzzle game, comes Twilight Path. With an entirely new setting, Twilight Path attempts something more ambitious than its predecessor, but winds up feeling like a rushed followup.

Twilight Path Review Details:

Official Site

Developer: Charm Games
Available On: SteamVR (Vive, Rift), Oculus Store (Rift)
Reviewed On: SteamVR (Vive Pro)
Release Date: October 2nd, 2018


Opening with a short prologue about a spirit world that’s recently come under siege by a cursed dragon demon, Twilight Path begins ever so briefly in the human world before transporting you to the spirit world with little explanation, beginning a linear string of puzzles which can be fun but often feel arbitrary as you teleport from one puzzle node to the next.

Whereas Charm Games’ previous title, FORM, had a more abstract presentation which relied and usually succeeded with dazzling visuals, Twilight Path sets up a more structured world and introduces the player to a few characters in an effort to infuse the game’s puzzle gameplay with interesting context.

Screenshot by Road to VR

Unfortunately it fails on that front as the characters are ill developed and almost entirely without player interaction, serving more as a convenient in-game location for some voice acting work to emanate. By the end, the game tries to bring a little action into the mix and suss some emotion out of the player after a climactic scene, but fails to achieve a sense of danger or urgency, while lacking the requisite character development to make the player care about the outcome.

Failing in its overambitious attempt at world building, Twilight Path is left then with just its puzzles. While you’ll find a few new ideas, there’s plenty borrowed from FORM. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, Twilight Path didn’t feel like it brought many innovative or memorable puzzle ideas to the table, and rarely offered me any “eureka” moments that are often accompany puzzle games that make you think outside the box.

Despite being usually fun to interact with thanks to (usually) good affordance design, FX, and SFX, puzzles largely felt like one-off contraptions. Twilight Path doesn’t really teach the player underlying concepts to later be tested in a challenging setting—the essence of most any game.

Screenshot by Road to VR

Even priced at a low $15, with a little over an hour of play time Twilight Path feels like it tries to do too much with its world in the time allotted, while not focusing enough on the player’s gameplay journey.

Charm Games says that Twilight Path serves as an introduction to its world and they plan to add more chapters to this tale in the future.


Screenshot by Road to VR

In Twilight Path you’re described as a human who has come to the spirit realm, apparently a fairly uncommon happenstance. You’ve acquired several magical abilities (for some reason), allowing you to interact with objects at a distance, transform broken things into not broken things, and teleport from one predefined location to the next.

The purely linear nature of the game, coupled with node-based teleportation—which sometimes moves you hundreds of feet or more from where you just were in a matter of seconds—makes it hard to stay grounded in the game world as you’re often left wondering exactly where you are in relation to the rest of the environment.

While the game gives you abilities which on paper should feel empowering, they often feel more like a means of activating scripted sequences. For instance, early in the game there’s some giant boulders blocking a pathway. While you might want to use your force power to pick them up and move them off of the track, instead you can only use your force power to just click and hold on certain action nodes on the boulders which causes them to blow up after a few seconds (for some reason).

Other ‘puzzle’ elements involve using your force power to click and hold on an obvious node for a few seconds as a large broken object reforms into its unbroken shape. Again, it would have been more empowering if I got to physically manipulate the large pieces to put the object back together myself, instead of simple activating a scripted animation with a trigger hold.

Twilight Path is a decent looking game, but lacks some consistency in its environmental design. The first half of the game takes place in the large outdoor spirit realm setting which is mostly passable, but lacks character. In the latter half of the game you’ll find an immense spirit creature that’s surprisingly detailed and quite well animated for its size. From then on out you enter interior spaces which are significantly more detailed and occasionally awe inducing. Sadly, you’ll only spend a few minutes in some of the game’s most richly detailed areas.


As the game is purely teleportation based, and doesn’t require you to move more than a step from your central position, it’s perfectly comfortable, save for a few moments where you’re riding on a slowly moving vehicle.

To use your force power at a distance, the game relies on cursors which are projected out into the world. Played with the Vive, the cursors moved with my hands in a somewhat unintuitive manner, making control a little less precise than it seems it should be. I think this may have been an effort to avoid simple laser pointing input (which is smart), but the result could have felt better.

The post ‘Twilight Path’ Review – Puzzles Missing Purpose appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Mario Kart VR’ Comes to the US Today in Bandai Namco’s Newest VR Arcade

For the first time, BANDAI NAMCO is bringing to the United States a number of popular VR experiences once only available in Japan and UK-based VR ZONE arcades. Included in the line-up is the much-awaited Mario Kart Arcade GP VR.

VR ZONE Portal Washington D.C. is officially opening up shop today at Union Station near the national mall. Bandai Namco’s ‘Portal’ naming scheme indicates that the venue is smaller than the full-sized VR ZONEs in both Shinjuku and Osaka, Japan.

VR games available to the public include Mario Kart VRArgyle Shift, and Ski Rodeo, and appear to be on a first-come, first-serve basis with no reservations required.

The star of the show is undoubtedly Mario Kart VR though, which pits four players against each other using HTC Vive headsets, Vive Trackers, and motion platform outfitted with a steering wheel, acceleration and brake pedals. Users, playing as Mario, Peach, Luigi, or Toad race around the track grabbing classic items like banana skins and shells while dodging Bowser—essentially what everyone wants from a VR version of Mario Kart.

“BANDAI NAMCO is thrilled to be a part of the innovative, cutting-edge project that is VR ZONE Portal. The launches in Japan and the UK brought great success, and we hope to follow suit in Washington, D.C.,” said Steve Ignarski, National Sales Manager for Bandai Namco Amusement America. “Mario Kart VR is a long-awaited title and we have no doubt it will be well-received in the states, due to its incredible, immersive game-play and outstanding equipment from HTC Vive.”

There’s a catch however. All three VR experiences will be featured for only six months, meaning the VR ZONE Portal in D.C. is a limited time engagement that will close up shop presumably sometime in March 2019. Check out the VR Zone Portal Washington D.C. Facebook page for more info.

The post ‘Mario Kart VR’ Comes to the US Today in Bandai Namco’s Newest VR Arcade appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Moss’ is Coming to Oculus Quest at Launch

There isn’t a list of launch titles for Oculus Quest yet, the company’s newly announced $400 high-end standalone VR headset. Polyarc, the minds behind Moss (2017), say that the super endearing platformer adventure is indeed going to be among the 50+ launch titles coming to Quest on day one.

Already available on PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Windows VR, Moss will be cramming itself into mobile VR hardware for the first time—no small feat that will hopefully retain the incredible graphics that we came to love on higher-resolution headsets such as Rift and Vive. After all, Quest is said to feature a 1,600 × 1,440 per eye OLED, which is not only the same resolution of HTC Vive Pro, but we think it actually looks pretty great on Quest.

A particularly important piece of the puzzle is undoubtedly Oculus Quest’s ‘Touch’ controllers, which just like with Rift will allow you to physically interact with the little pint-sized hero Quill and move the puzzle-like platforms to help her along the way to save her missing uncle.

Oculus Quest is said to launch sometime in Spring 2019, so the team still has some time to tighten down on those textures, reduce polygons, and stuff the wide, beautiful world of Moss to fit Quest’s on-board Snapdragon 835 chipset.

Check out our spoiler-free review of Moss here for more information.

While the list of Quest launch titles is still pretty uncertain—Oculus says Rift titles Robo Recall, The Climb, and Dead and Buried are all coming to the headset—it’s not clear if these are launch titles or not. Either way you slice it, some of the best Rift titles making it to Quest will certainly makes it easy for newcomers looking for solid content on the Rift-like mobile headset.

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‘Vox Machinae’ Early Access Review: VR’s Latest & Greatest Mech Sim

Having grown up with FromSoftware’s mech arcade series Armored Core and the more simulator-style multiplayer Chromehounds, I have a special place in my heart for the lurching mech goliaths. And now Vox Machinae is here, promising to bring an immersive twist on the classic genre that aims to not only stuff the servers with VR players, but also players on traditional monitors as well.

Vox Machinae Review Details:

Official Site

Publisher: Space Bullet Dynamics Corporation
Available On: Steam (Vive, Rift), Oculus Store (Rift)
Reviewed On: Oculus Rift
EA Release Date: September 26th, 2018

Note (September 26th, 2018): This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game only at its current Early Access state and will not receive a numerical score.


As a multiplayer-focused game at this point, the only way to effectively play solo is to go against bots, which automatically fill out with some not so-terribly-competent AI. That said, the developers have seemingly geared up for launch with an expansive number of dedicated servers that offer up to 16-player battles; three basic multiplayer styles are on offer at the moment, including free for all, team deathmatch, and two waypoint capture modes.

A host of mech styles are available, ranging from pure tanks that are predictably slow but have great armor, to light walkers with drill attachments and even ramming rods for devastating surprise attacks. Weapons are modifiable, even during mid-game so you can change up your tactic depending on the need at the moment. Yes, you can snipe too with an optically magnified in-game monitor, although I personally found the sniping railgun to be a bit under-powered to be a truly useful weapon. Choosing a weapon for your mech will allow you to bind it to a specific button on your controller, so it’s really up to you how your load-out will work and respond.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Much of the game is about striking a good balance. You can go in guns a’blazing, strapped with the most powerful missiles, but heat will successively build up to the point that your mech will physically stop, close down the blast doors, and wait for the heat meter to go down, leaving you defenseless as other mechs come around to pop off yours arms and legs. Once those are gone, you might as well just eject right there and reformulate a better weapons setup for you next spawn, so figuring out what’s right for you will predictably take some time.

As for controls, if you use Oculus Touch or HTC Vive’s controllers, mech movement is dependent on in-cockpit controls, meaning you’ll have the ability to physically manipulate levers and buttons that control forward movement, left and right movement, and directional booster jump. You can alternatively use an Xbox One controller, which personally seems more intuitive, albeit less immersive than using your hands. Some other perks of using Touch/Vive wands include the ability to re-position informational screens such as your radar, honk a big rig-style horn, and physically use a CB radio to talk with team mates.


Playing in a multiplayer match stocked nearly a quarter-way with human players, it slowly became clear to me who was a bot an who wasn’t. Human players tended to skirt around large masses of mechs and stay back for farther shots, while bots tended to have no issue with marching into the fray three at a time. It’s still early days though, so it’s hard to say just what sort of tactics more adept players will follow, and if AI will adapt to higher skilled players.

Since it’s also open to non-VR players, I decided to give it a go in desktop mode, which can be launched via both the Oculus Store version and Steam by right clicking the title in your library and selecting ‘Desktop Mode’. Having played many matches in VR, I found that it was easier in the desktop mode to acquire a target picture using mouse or gamepad. This is balanced somewhat by the lowered peripheral awareness in desktop, as its much less intuitive to get a good sense of what’s around you since the cock pit is basically still the same, replete with a tiny radar screen that you physically have to look down at in either mode to determine if anyone’s nearby. Having the ability to look down at that one screen quickly while keeping an eye out for gunfire is an ultimate boon in VR.

In all, it’s a well-polished game that offers most of everything I want as an avid mech pilot, save the rad paint jobs and true ‘stick anything anywhere’ modularity that mech sims like Chromehounds offered, but Vox has clearly shied away from with its uni-textured mechs and specific weapon slots.


Maps vary depending on the planet size and type, offering lower gravity in some, higher gravity in others, lava, rocks, weird formations, etc. While well-crafted, I found the render distance on smaller foreground objects like rocks and plants to be somewhat short, which introduced some noise into my goal of keeping a keen eye out for bad guys.

Maps are large, and offer enough variability to suit most player types, with high ledges for snipers and weird rock features for those more sneaky fast types.


The cockpit itself is like a fun mix between micro space-miner and 18-wheeler cabin, what with its dingy bed in the back and charmingly anachronistic CB radio. It is by far one of the coolest bits about Vox Machinae, and Space Bullet have really nailed the feel, control, and look of it all.


Because Vox Machinae provides the user with a solid a cockpit (which at times can be quite bumpy), movement is mostly grounded in the user’s point of view, making it a reasonably comfortable experience.

That said, the cockpit does shake some and also uses smooth turning, which can be slightly uncomfortable for a fraction of susceptible users. To address this, Space Bullet have included an optional blinder mode that applies a vingette to your field of view when turning, and an optional nose rendered on your face to give you a more grounded feel even when the cockpit is chugging along.

Final Thoughts

Vox Machinae will no doubt attract the mech enthusiasts among us, and keep us playing the deathmatches for a while yet to come. I would love to see a single-player campaign though so future buyers will be more enticed into purchasing, therefor keeping the servers packed with a healthy flow of players. The developers have done a smart thing by allowing non-VR users to play the game too, which should hopefully keep the numbers up as well.

In all, Vox Machinae is a well-polished, classic mech arena that would do well with more customization, a few more maps, and some more interesting mission types to keep us coming back. It’s a really promising jump off point though for the Early Access title, and it’s clear the basic functionality is there – and boy is it solid.

This game is in Early Access which means the developers have deemed it incomplete and likely to see changes over time. This review is an assessment of the game only at its current Early Access state and will not receive a numerical score.

The post ‘Vox Machinae’ Early Access Review: VR’s Latest & Greatest Mech Sim appeared first on Road to VR.

Mech Simulator ‘Vox Machinae’ Available Now After Surprise Launch at Oculus Connect

Vox Machinae, a long running indie VR project, is available right now on the Oculus Rift, SteamVR, and PC. The game received a surprise launch into Early Access today at Oculus Connect 5, bringing a new beginning to a title that’s been in the works for nearly four years.

Available now on Oculus (Rift), SteamVR (Vive, Rift, and Windows VR), and PC (non-VR mode), Vox Machinae is a multiplayer mech combat game that leans decidedly toward the ‘simulator’ end of the mech spectrum, contrasting faster-paced and more arcade-like mech games like Archangel: Hellfire (2017).

Vox Machinae delivers a weighty mech experience where you’ll feel more like you’re operating a giant machine rather than actually being the machine itself. This is achieved with a cockpit full of controls which are manipulated using your motion controllers. That includes the throttle, rotation stick, jump jet control, and even a CB radio microphone which you need to pick up to communicate with your team.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

As your mech has serious momentum, you’ll need to plan your movements carefully if you don’t want to go stumbling into walls or totally botch the landing after using your jump jets. For those who want to be a bit less lumbering, the choice of a smaller mech will increase speed and maneuverability, but of course comes means you won’t be able to take as much damage as the larger mechs.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Alongside a handful of different mech chassis to choose from, customizable weapons include the likes of machine guns, rockets, lasers, and railguns—the latter being extra effective when paired with a special targeting monitor in the cockpit which offers a zoomed in view of your reticle.

Image courtesy Space Bullet

Vox Machinae is available today in Early Access priced at $25 and supports multiplayer matches with up to 16 players, including bot support, mid-match joining, and full crossplay between Oculus, SteamVR, and non-VR PC players. Developer Space Bullet confirmed to Road to VR that both the Oculus and Steam versions of the game can also be played in the non-VR PC mode.

The post Mech Simulator ‘Vox Machinae’ Available Now After Surprise Launch at Oculus Connect appeared first on Road to VR.

‘CREED: Rise to Glory’ Review: An Arcade Boxer That Packs a Real Punch

CREED: Rise to Glory is a boxing game that aims to get you up and sweating with what promises to deliver the Rocky-style underdog victory that couch jockies like me have always dreamed about. While the campaign is both shorter and lighter on story than it probably could have been, it delivers some heavy-hitting game mechanics that do pretty well considering you’re effectively punching at air.

Creed: Rise to Glory Details:

Official Site

Developer: Survios
Available On: Steam (Vive, Rift,), Oculus Store (Rift), PlayStation Store (PSVR)
Reviewed On: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive
Release Date: September 25th, 2018


There’s not much to know about the story behind Creed: Rise to Glory. Like in the films, you follow series protagonist Adonis “Hollywood” Creed, the son of Apollo Creed, and fight to become the champ.

Story elements are told through a radio program playing in the gym, which serves as your sanctuary where you can train before fights and hear a little bit about the boxing world outside of the gym’s four walls. A single flashback of you punching out a bouncer and presumably losing a love interest are light padding to the game’s main event: dodging and making sure your stamina isn’t too low so you can land effective punches during matches. And while I felt the story definitely could have played out to a grander, more dramatic effect with a longer arc than what its six primary enemies provided, the most important things are strong fundamentals and being engaging enough to revisit, which is clearly the case in Creed: Rise to Glory.

Image courtesy Survios

As someone who’s never boxed before, I can’t really say with much certainty how true Creed VR is to the actual sport, but it appears to have been game-ified well into arcade territory. The Rocky films, and by extension the Creed films, are fantastical fights that probably could never happen in reality anyway. Like with many sports films, the technicality of the sport is mostly lost in those big dramatized moments that challenge the main character, and help them come to a hard-won resolution. Stepping into the ring with the lights, the crowd, and the announcer, it easily matched up to my already warped expectations of how boxing is portrayed in film—that much I can say with confidence; I felt like I was in a movie, and it was awesome.

Iconic training montages with Rocky Balboa, voiced with a convincing-enough impression of Sylvester Stallone, prefaced most fights, giving you that all important cinematic touchstone.

Image captured by Road to VR

Introducing what Survios calls ‘Phantom Melee Technology’, Creed uses a sort of body desynchronization when either your stamina is low, or when you’re staggered from a powerful punch. Low stamina is indicated by the color of your gloves, which will flash red to make sure you know your punches will be slower than your actual physical ability to shadow box. This keeps you on the guard more than you might otherwise be, as the only way to recuperate stamina is by holding you hands still. Enemies will also dodge and block your hits too, making them more than just simple punching bags.

Getting staggered happens in two stages. A powerful punch can put you in a quick out-of-body experience that requires you to match up your hands to two targets, allowing you to pop back into the fight.

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More devastating punches can knock you way out of the ring, requiring you to ‘run’ back and jump back into your body. These are fun and truly creative ways of making you feel like you’re hanging on to a bare thread in the more difficult matches.

Image captured by Road to VR

A few methods of activating slow motion sequences really drive home the cinematic nature of the game, as you dodge a punch or land a big hit that places temporary target’s on your opponent’s body.

All of these systems work extremely well, but the learning curve is somewhat steep. There is no visible HP or stamina bar, so spending some extra time in training is probably a good thing so you can start to really feel out how many hits you can take and how many you can give before throwing yourself at the actual matches.

I beat the campaign mode in about an hour an a half on normal difficulty, although that was stretched out over several sessions simply based on my own admittedly out-of-shape cardio abilities. It’s easy to see using Creed: Rise to Glory in an actual cardio routine to get less than active people (like me) up from the chair and getting their heart pumping. I felt enemies weren’t terribly varied in the attack styles, as it seems difficulty is mostly based more on the NPC’s individual punch strength and HP.

While I was left somewhat disappointed by the shortness of the campaign mode, thankfully you can mix and match enemies, gyms, and boxing locales in free play. Another big addition recently announced to arrive on all platforms is PvP online multiplayer. Online multiplayer presents a good opportunity to really turn the technical difficulty up, as live players exploit tactics that NPCs simply can’t think of, like running around the ring and going for a drive-by punch. These online battles are intense, and provided some of my most tiring battles.

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While at times on the cartoonish side, character models and their animations are very well-done and can be genuinely intimidating too. Seeing a near seven foot-tall guy trying to hit me in the face isn’t something I’m really used to, and even though nothing bad can happen outside of accidentally punching a wall/TV/monitor, there are some moments before the fight when you subconsciously size up the competition.

Image captured by Road to VR

Impressive and realistic set pieces help ground you in the world, although it’s clear Creed: Rise to Glory is definitely bucking up against some of the inherent limitations of the current state of VR. Without any bodily feedback outside of the controller’s haptics, it’s difficult to completely immerse yourself in the act of dodging and blocking, two things that require more than visual cues to accomplish. Oftentimes I had my gloves up, obscuring my vision, and without force feedback (which at this point isn’t possible), you just have to rely on the controller’s buzzy haptics and the game’s visual cues to tell if you’ve hit your opponent or pulled your punch too early. That said, it’s great to know that Creed VR has entirely bypassed the ‘waggle simulator’ trend of earlier titles, as it not only requires you to punch quickly, but do it accurately for the sake of lost stamina.

The game’s AI is pretty darn good. At moments I could feel the AI sussing out my head’s position and aiming accurately for my noggin despite I had dodged an earlier punch. NPCs feel mostly solid, although you can actually run through them if you want.

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While based mostly on room-scale movement, there are moments when you need to artificially move from point A to point B, including when you square off at the beginning of the fight and during moments when you’re knocked out and have to run back to your body to continue the fight. Moving in the game is accomplished by swinging your arms while holding down the applicable buttons on each controller, which sends you sliding forward. Artificial locomotion is generally useless during fights, so it usually comes down to standing in place and punching it out like rock’em sock’em robots, albeit with a little more finesse and dodging/blocking abilities.

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Both room-scale and the game’s only other locomotion scheme, detailed above, are extremely comfortable ways of moving around VR.

That said, this is a very physical standing game that will get your heart beating, and definitely get you sweating through the padding on your headset if you’re not careful. That’s not so much a knock on the game’s comfort rating as it is an advisory to plan ahead. Pop on some gym shorts for an extended session, because you’ll soon be huffing and puffing with all the dodging, bobbing and punching you’ll be doing.

Like with many more physical VR games, there’s a risk of hyperextending your arms alla tennis elbow, so it may be best to take frequent breaks if you have some pre-existing joint issues.

The post ‘CREED: Rise to Glory’ Review: An Arcade Boxer That Packs a Real Punch appeared first on Road to VR.

‘Sairento VR’ Update Brings Remastered Graphics & Smoother Gameplay, New Levels Incoming

Sairento VR (2018), the cyber-ninja VR combat game, just received an update that includes remastered graphics and better performance thanks to a game engine upgrade.

Sairento VR launched out of Early Access for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift in February 2018. The game includes a single-player campaign mode that lets you hone your slow-motion, high-flying ninja moves as you shoot pistols and physically slice your katanas at the game’s ‘cyber ninja’ enemies; the game also includes a single-player arcade mode, multiplayer co-op, and PvP mode.

Thanks to a recent update, the following levels have been visually remastered: Shrine, Lab, Warehouse, Cemetary, Hall, Corporation, Train, Arena, and Observatory. The developers, Mixed Realms, are still working on three remaining levels including Street, Alley and District, and will release patches for these in a future update.

An upgrade to the game’s Unity game engine, Mixed Realms says in a Steam news post, improves textures and lighting, offers better performance and smoother gameplay, and fixes a number of bugs. You can find the full change log in the link posted above.

Mixed Realms also maintains that Sairento VR is slated to receive a new level at the end of September, and another one at the end of October.

Check out the video below for a look at some of the game’s latest improvements.

The post ‘Sairento VR’ Update Brings Remastered Graphics & Smoother Gameplay, New Levels Incoming appeared first on Road to VR.