It’s been a pretty busy month for me, with holiday preparations and Black Friday coverage from TechRadar, but I still made time to play some great VR games and apps.
Since last month’s roundup, I’ve picked up the DLC for the best oculus quest 2 game (Ambulatory mini-golf), I tried the Survival Nation beta on my Peak 4and even wrote part of this piece while wearing a VR headset thanks to Virtual Desktop.
Here is what I thought of all these experiences:
I will never stop wanting to tell people how amazing the Walkabout Mini Golf is because it is frankly the best VR game the low. Whether you play on the Oculus Quest 2, the Pico 4, or via a PCVR headset like the Valve Index, the principle of the game is super simple: it’s mini golf. But Walkabout’s execution of its simple idea is exemplary – the controls feel perfect, the level of challenge is fair, and the diverse courses are a joy to be in.
The game’s base levels – which include courses set in a pirate cove, outer space, and a Japanese garden – look great, but the DLC courses are definitely worth their extra cost. This month I finally caught up on some of the last drops I missed, and I wish I had tried them sooner.
My personal favorite is the Myst-inspired level; not only is it full of callbacks to the classic game for fans, but the holes are some of Walkabout’s most unique to date. All thanks to the introduction of puzzle-like mechanics, which I hope will be developed in future courses. Still, that’s not to say the El Dorado and Labyrinth courses are anything but spectacular. Every time I think the game couldn’t be better, developer Mighty Coconut proves me wrong with their latest release.
If you own a VR headset, you have to play this game. Even if you’re not the biggest fan of mini golf, there’s something magical about Walkabout Mini Golf that will win you over; it wins everyone I know who has played it.
If you need a game with a little more action, then Survival Nation might be more to your liking. This open world zombie survival game is currently in beta and I tried its current version with my Pico 4.
After creating your character, you can jump into a single or multiplayer world where zombies have taken over and only a few human survivors remain. At a permanent wilderness camp, you’ll learn valuable skills from the people there like cooking, hunting, and good fashion sense, which will help you on your adventure through the apocalypse.
Like any zombie survival game, it’s not just undead monsters and your health bar that you need to worry about. During your adventures, you need to make sure you’re well fed and drinking plenty of water – although refueling is often much more difficult than just popping into the shops. This proven survival genre feature works just as well in virtual reality as it does on more traditional gaming platforms, with titles like 7 Days to Die and State of Decay.
Another feature that I love is that character interactions are voice-acting. Not only does this help bring the game’s cast to life, but it also makes the experience much more accessible, especially for someone with dyslexia like me who struggles when games bombard me with walls of text.
That said, Survival Nation is by no means perfect; the shooter is much clunkier (especially reloading) than other VR titles like The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners; I couldn’t get the teleport to work at all (or find any comfort features); and the object interaction doesn’t seem as realistic as it could be. But for a game still in Early Access, I’m very impressed with what Wenkly Studio has produced so far and I’m very excited to see the product finalized when it’s ready.
Survival Nation doesn’t have a release date yet, but we know it will be exclusive to the Pico 4 for a limited time. The wording of the official statement – “standalone VR players will only be able to access Survival Nation on Pico headsets” – leaves open the possibility of it launching on PCVR headsets at the same time, but for those of you on the Quest 2 you will like to have to wait a little longer to play this game even after its release.
I’m writing this last section wearing my Pico 4 headset using the application I want to tell you about: Virtual Desktop. It’s also available on the Quest 2 if you want to pick it up instead.
By downloading the application to your headset and associating it with the Virtual Desktop program on your PC, you can use your PC in virtual reality. Your screen is projected in front of you like a huge curved monitor, and you can operate your programs as you would with a typical mouse and keyboard setup, except you use your headset controllers.
Even better, if you start a PCVR title on Steam or the Oculus PC app, you’ll load there as if it were any other VR game on your headset. If you hate using the Quest 2’s Air Link or using a wired connection to play PCVR games with your standalone headset, this could be the answer. While Virtual Desktop stuttered occasionally, I found the experience quite stable in the games I played.
Although one of the main drawbacks of Virtual Desktop that this exercise has highlighted is that typing using the in-app keyboard is a complete pain. It’s fine for typing quick messages, login info, or a website URL, but you really don’t want to write longer works like me. If you’re a confident typist, you can instead use your desktop keyboard as usual, or you can grab a VR headset-compatible keyboard and use it – your headset can display a virtual model of the device there. is perfectly mapped.
But since I don’t have confidence – and without a VR keyboard – I’m going to stop there, it’s so tedious.