These apps may still be in development, but they already pack a punch.
Last week Oculus launched the App Lab, a brand new service for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 that allows developers to share their works-in-progress with users without the need for official Oculus Store approval. The platform launched with a total of 12 games and apps, from first-person shooters like Crisis VRigade to mind-bending VR puzzlers such as Puzzling Places.
The following are just five of our favorite games and apps available now on App Lab. Those familiar with SideQuest will likely recognize a majority of the titles included as part of this list:
ANCIENT DUNGEON BETA
Don’t let the retro graphics and block-like enemies fool you, Ancient Dungeon Beta is an expertly-crafted VR dungeon-crawling experience unlike anything available on headsets at the moment. This addicting VR rogue-lite features a wide variety of procedurally-generated environments, unique enemy creatures, and powerful weaponry. The combat, while simple, feels incredibly satisfying thanks to the finely-tuned physics system, as does interacting with objects and the environment.
I’ve sunk an unhealthy amount of time into Ancient Dungeon Beta since its launch on SideQuest. Those looking for an addicting VR rogue-lite need look no further.
SMASH DRUMS DEMO
While it may be light on content at the moment, Smash Drums Demo offers a small, but delicious taste of PotamWorks’ upcoming VR rhythm game. Similar to existing titles such as Beat Saber and Supernatural, Smash Drums tasks you with striking a series of targets to the beat of a custom soundtrack. Unlike the above-mentioned games, however, Smash Drums does away with the sabers and slashing in favor of old-school drumming.
The result is a refreshing take on a genre saturated with Beat Saber clones. As previously stated, content is light at the moment; there’s currently only one song available. But hey, it’s free. PotamWorks promises an additional 21 indie rock songs as part of the full release.
Brought to us by IRL Studios Inc., Gym Class lets you embarrass fools on the court while adhering to proper social distancing guidelines. This VR basketball simulator features support for 8-player online games, allowing you to duke it out with other users from around the world. You can also hit the court by yourself and practice your moves in between games.
Advanced physics and full-body kinetics offer realistic interactions and movement, allowing you to shoot, pass, and even dunk. With very few VR basketball games available to standalone users at the moment, Gym Class makes for an extremely exciting addition to the App Lab.
CRISIS VRIGADE 2
Fans of classic arcade light gun games like Time Crisis and Virtua Cop will feel right at home with Crisis VRigade 2. Whereas the original Crisis VRigade featured a cartoonish art style, Crisis VRigade 2 opts for a more mature look, dropping you in a variety of realistic environments crawling with baddies. Beyond that Crisis VRigade 2 offers a fast-paced gameplay experience extremely similar to that of its predecessor.
You begin each round with a standard handgun and unlock more powerful weaponry as you progress. Taking cover is essential in order to survive, especially during the boss portions of each level. While $20 feels like a bit much for a work-in-progress, Crisis VRigade 2 is definitely one of the more fleshed-out titles included on the list.
I’m a sucker for volumetric technology, so you can image how impressed I was with Puzzling Places. A VR puzzler unlike anything available at the moment, Puzzling Places has you assembling realistic 3D miniatures of famous historical sites captured using photogrammetry 3D scans. This beta includes a massive 98-piece puzzle of the Tatev monastery in Armenia, with more on the way according to the developers.
What makes this 3D jigsaw experience so unique is the ability to lean in closely and inspect the realistic miniatures from multiple angles. Once the puzzle has been completed, you can then access an immersive soundscape captured straight from the real-world location.
For more information on the App Lab check out our earlier coverage here.
Feature Image Credit: IRL Studios Inc.