Oculus Rift Game Reviews – Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin

Image Credit: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/rift/1792930504091043/?locale=en_GB

I fell in love with the original Psychonauts on the original Xbox over a decade ago! It is awesome that we are getting a sequel, but Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a game that is actually bridging the gap between the two games. Tim Schafer is a real hero of mine and I consider Psychonauts to be the best work that he has done.

The first thing that made me smile about this game was just how heavy it ties into the original game. I was actually very surprised by this as so much time has passed, I am sure there are many people who will have no idea who characters like Raz, Lili, Sasha, and Milla are! Even me, a person who played through the original game multiple times had to really think hard about certain things that this game brought up. Do not get me wrong, I love that this is a full-on sequel, but I do worry that some new players may be a little lost.

In this game, our “heroes” are grown up and they have now finished with their studies at Whispering Rock Psychic Summer Camp. Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is a very story-driven game and I love that. Even those who are new to the game I feel will be pulled in by the charm. The overall story is about our favorite characters having to use their special abilities to solve various puzzles and mysteries.

The way that the game gives you access to all of the abilities at the start, only to take them away is rather clever. It eases you into the gameplay and then makes you work for all of the cool stuff. Each character has their own ability and these are a lot of fun to use. Most of the “trickier” puzzles will require the use of an actual ability like pyrokinesis for example. These abilities are fun to use and a major highlight of the game for me.

The gameplay of Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin is great. I would say that a game like Rick and Morty is the best comparison. You do not have free reign to just go where you like, but you can zap to different parts of each level and interact with a ton of things and solve puzzles. I would say that at its core, you have a puzzle game here which as this is from Tim Schafer is not all that surprising. I was surprised at how easy some of the puzzles were, but that did not make them any less fun.

I played the game with my standard Xbox One controller and found the overall experience to be just as good as the PlayStation VR version of the game. I really do not see any control issues with this game at all. Playing as all of the characters is a lot of fun and using the various abilities and taking part in the puzzles is never a chore due to how smooth and easy the controls are.

Playing through Psychonauts in the Rhombus of Ruin on the Oculus Rift was an absolute pleasure. In all honesty, I did not notice any difference with this and the PSVR version, but that is not a bad thing. I really think that this is a game more people need to check out. Sadly, like the original Psychonauts, this one here is criminally underrated and ignored. Do not sleep on this, it is awesome!

Pros:

I love the setting of the game

Brings back the gang from the original game

It has a ton of personality to it

It plays like a dream with a controller

You can tell this is a Tim Schafer game!

Cons:

They put a lot of faith that every player has played the original

It is not the most challenging game

Oculus Rift Game Reviews – XING: The Land Beyond

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yN6m2-oiby4

Brought to us from White Lotus Interactive, XING: The Land Beyond is a breathtaking puzzle game for Oculus Rift that has many things in common with old school puzzles games like Myst. This is not a puzzle game for the faint of heart, but those looking for a more challenging experience are in for a very memorable experience here.

The story that is behind the game is something that clicked with me right away. You play as “you” and you are stuck in a kind of purgatory. You need to go through these four different portals and this is so that you can free these trapped spirits so that they can move on. The spirits are tormented and need your help and some of the scenarios here are pretty damn dark. There is abuse, depression, and loss as themes that some of these spirits are suffering with. It is pretty hard-hitting, but the game handles it very well and I found myself not just wanting to help these spirits, but also know more about them.

So how do you help the spirits? Well, that is where the gameplay comes in. XING: The Land Beyond is at its heart a puzzle game. Each of the worlds that you go to in the game has a rather distinct theme. You have to play the game in a set order and what you do in one place can have a direct effect somewhere else. I find that this is one of those games that is very hard to explain to people as it is such an interesting experience.

One thing that I found very clever is that the game, for the most part, is made up of environmental puzzles and these are very well thought out. Nothing in this game feels like it is there just to “look cool”. Chances are anything that looks important will have some role to play. Each area has a new weather type of puzzle that you learn to use. Before you get to the endgame you have a ton of different things to remember! It can be daunting and some of the puzzles are rather cryptic which I feel may frustrate some players.

XING: The Land Beyond does hold your hand in some places if you need it so there is that. I personally felt that the learning curve was just right, but again, I can see some people getting annoyed with some of the puzzles. I do though feel that the story the game tells is more than enough to drive you forward and really want to help put the souls of these spirits at ease.

I played this with the touch controllers and felt that they worked very, very well. I never had any tracking issues and for the most part, I never got frustrated with the game in terms of its controls. Using the triggers to control your movement works very well and I did not have any kind of motion sickness when playing the game.  

I was very impressed with XING: The Land Beyond. It is not just a really well-made puzzle game that makes you think. In terms of the story that it tells, I found this to be a game that really clicked with me. Not only did it click with me, but it is also a story that stuck with me for a few days after I had beaten it.

Pros:

The presentation is wonderful

Lots of variety to the puzzles you solve

The progression is very clever

I found the difficulty curve to be great

One of the most impressive stories I have played through

Cons:

Some may find some of the puzzles frustrating

Once you beat the game, not sure you would want to go back and play it again

Oculus Rift Game Reviews – Eagle Flight

Image Credit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CaFA9cCaLHs

Eagle Flight for the Oculus Rift was not exactly a game I was expecting a whole lot from if I am being honest with you. However, I found myself actually pretty blown away by what a solid, fun and clever game this is. If you want an exciting and more “different” kind of flying game that works perfectly in VR, you will have a hard time beating this.

There is a campaign in Eagle Flight and I would say that you are probably looking at 4-5 hours to beat it. The game is rather interesting in that you play as an eagle in France. This is not the France you know from your vacation or TV. This is France, posthumans and nature has taken it back over. The presentation is awesome and seeing places like the Eifel Tower covered in vegetation is a pretty cool sight.

The campaign moves at a pretty brisk pace. You have various objectives that you need to do ranging from collecting items, fighting off other birds and exploring underground areas. I know that these do not sound like the most fun objectives in the world, but as the actual flying is so much fun and engaging it makes what in a regular game would be a rather mundane task exciting and fun. I would certainly advise jumping into the campaign first of all when you start playing Eagle Flight.

The controls are awesome. I played the game with my Xbox One controller and it felt great. You mainly use your head to dictate where you want to go and then speed and attacks are done with the controller. It is a very nice, easy to learn and fun gameplay system and one that is easy to pick up, but rather challenging to master. The more you play the more you get out of it, but on the other hand, it is easy enough to figure out the basics. I would actually suggest that more flying games should flat out copy what this game has done with its controls.

As well as the campaign you do have some other modes that you can do. One of these is a trials type of mode where you need to fly through rings. This is way more challenging than you would think and the fact it does not show you the rings more than two in advance of you can make it a tad frustrating. Still, if you love the actual flying, you will probably get a great deal out of this mode. There is also multiplayer! This is a capture the flag style game where you and a rival group of birds are fighting over a dead animal to take back to your nest. This is way more fun and competitive than I thought it would be and working as a team is really key to winning.

I know it is so easy to look at Eagle Flight on the Oculus Rift and think that this is a very barebones and basic kind of game. It is anything but that. I have had a fantastic time with this game and while it may not be the kind of game I come back to time and time again. It is certainly one of the more fun experiences I have had on my Oculus Rift recently.

Pros:

I love the idea of playing as an Eagle

Paris looks amazing

The flight controls are near perfect

Plenty of missions to do

It even has multiplayer and extra modes to do

Cons:

Flying through rings can be frustrating

Not sure it is the kind of game you would keep coming back to