This month has been pretty busy for me, with holiday preparations and helping out with TechRadar’s Black Friday coverage, but I still made time to play some excellent VR games and apps.
Since last month’s roundup, I’ve got the DLC for the best oculus quest 2 game (Walkabout mini golf), tried the Survival Nation beta on my pico 4and even wrote part of this piece while wearing a VR headset thanks to Virtual Desktop.
Here’s what I thought of all those experiences:
Walkabout mini golf
I will never stop wanting to tell people how great Walkabout Mini Golf is because it honestly is the best VR game Outside. Whether you play on the Oculus Quest 2, the Pico 4, or via a PCVR headset like the Valve Index, the game’s premise is super simple: it’s miniature golf. But Walkabout’s execution of his simple idea is exemplary: the controls feel perfect, the level of challenge is just right and the diverse courses are a joy to be on.
The basic levels of the game – including jobs in a pirate bay, outer space and a Japanese garden – are fantastic, but the DLC courses are well worth the extra cost. This month I finally caught up on some of the latest drops I missed, and wish I had tried them sooner.
My favorite is the Myst inspired level; Not only is it packed with callbacks to the classic game for fans to enjoy, but the holes are some of Walkabout’s most unique yet. This is all thanks to the introduction of puzzle-like mechanics, which I hope will be expanded upon in future courses. However, that’s not to say that the El Dorado and Labyrinth courses are anything less than spectacular. Every time I think the game couldn’t get any better, developer Mighty Coconut proves me wrong with the latest release.
If you have a VR headset, you must play this game. Even if you’re not the biggest minigolf fan, there’s something magical about Walkabout Minigolf that will win you over; it beats everyone I know who has played it.
If you need a game with a bit more action then Survival Nation might be more for you. This open world zombie survival game is currently in beta and I’ve been testing the current build with my Pico 4.
After creating your character, you can enter a solo or multiplayer world where zombies have taken over and only a few human survivors remain. At a permanent camp in the wilderness, you’ll learn valuable skills from the people there, such as cooking, hunting, and good fashion sense, all of which will aid you in your adventure through the apocalypse.
Just like any zombie survival game, it’s not just the undead monsters and your health bar that you have to worry about. As you head out on an adventure, make sure you’re well fed and drinking plenty of water – although buying supplies is often a lot more difficult than just popping out to the store. This time-tested survival genre feature works just as well in VR as it does on more traditional gaming platforms, with titles like 7 Days to Die and State of Decay.
Another feature I like is that character interactions are voiced. Not only does this help bring the game’s cast to life, but it also makes the experience a lot more accessible, especially for a dyslexic person like me who struggles when games bombard me with walls of text.
That said, Survival Nation is by no means perfect; the gunplay is much more clunky (especially the reload) than other VR titles The Walking Dead: Saints and Sinners; I couldn’t get teleportation to work at all (nor did I find comfort features); and the object interaction doesn’t feel as realistic as it could be. But for a game that’s still in early access, I’m very impressed with what Wenkly Studio has produced so far, and I’m really excited to see the polished product when it’s done.
Survival Nation doesn’t have a release date yet, but we do know it will be a Pico 4 exclusive for a limited time. The wording of the official statement – “standalone VR gamers can only 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’ll be happy to wait a bit longer to play this game even after it comes out.
I’m writing this last section wearing my Pico 4 headset with the app I want to tell you about: Virtual Desktop. It’s also available on the Quest 2 if you want to pick it up there.
By downloading the app to your headset and pairing it with the Virtual Desktop program on your PC, you can use your PC in VR. Your screen is projected in front of you as if it were on a huge curved monitor, and you can use your programs as you would with a typical mouse and keyboard setup, except you use your headset’s controllers.
Best of all, when you fire up a PCVR title on Steam or the Oculus PC app, you load into it as if it were any other VR game on your headset. If you hate using the Quest 2’s Air Link or a wired connection to play PCVR games with your standalone headset, this could be the solution. While Virtual Desktop occasionally stuttered, I found the experience to be quite stable in the games I played.
While one major drawback of Virtual Desktop that has made this practice abundantly clear is that typing with the in-app keyboard is a huge pain. It’s fine for typing quick messages, login details, or a website URL, but you really don’t want to write out longer work like I do. If you’re a confident typer, you can instead use the keyboard on your desk as normal, or you can grab a VR headset-compatible keyboard and use that – your headset can show a virtual model of the device that looks perfect is depicted on .
But since I’m not confident – and without a VR keyboard – I’m going to end there because this is so annoying.