FREE VR GAMES & EXPERIENCES
Deserving Life is a horror style room escape game designed for the HTC Vive. The gameplay involves solving a series of puzzles to ultimately escape the house that you find yourself chained up in. The puzzles are of medium difficulty, and the game lasts around 25 minutes. As such the game developers also decided to make this a free title. The game has a simplistic but pleasing design, with atmospheric sounds that compliment the premise of the game, and I found this to be an enjoyable room escape.
THE RED STARE
In The Red Stare, you are a special agent in 1950s New York City, attempting to stop the reds who have infiltrated the city. The design is visually pleasing, well considered and fully interactive, which makes the gameplay more immersive, allowing you to get into character if you wish to, with the ability for example to play the radio or light a cigarette with the lighter whilst you are on your stakeout. The gameplay involves being on a stake out in an apartment, receiving information from a handler via telephone and fax, with instructions concerning observing your neighbours’, in order to ultimately figure out which of them is the communist spy. You use the activity taking place in the apartment across the street and the surrounding area, as intel, taking pictures of clues and sending them to the handler by fax. The puzzles are initially easy as you simply follow the instructions of the handler, but as the game progresses you must use deduction to figure out who is the communist spy, and the gameplay works well with this concept. My only criticisms are that at some points time passes a little too slowly which although realistic can be a little tedious, as can the handler as he is a tad repetitive. Overall, this is an enjoyable little puzzler and free to play, and as such I recommend it.
A free to play experience focusing on the topic of death. The experience has been presented to us as a VR short, built in VR, that is supposed to make us face difficult emotional choices. As such my review as recommended is on that basis! The animation is very nice, as is the music, and the controls work as designed. Whilst I think that it does achieve it’s goal of making us face considerations of death, whether or not you experience emotion during this narrative will depend on your disposition and life experiences. For example, if you have experienced something similar or worse in real life you may feel that this doesn’t make you remotely emotional (as I found), because in comparison to experiencing this in real life here it is animated and in comparision to real life it is very lighthearted. Contrastingly, for others instead of feeling that it is a lighthearted look at death, it may re-surface/heighten emotions connected to their real life personal experiences, or alternatively raise emotion in those who have never had any experiences with death as it may make them think about encountering death in the future. Based on this, I recommend trying it if you are okay with encountering the topic in a VR setting, as it is free and could potentially be meaningful for some users, also because it has an art style which is enjoyable to behold in VR.
In the game you suit up as Spider-Man by putting on the mask, and experience different web types as you complete a series of quick targeting trials for which you are graded. The experience is designed well, the surroundings and controls are immersive, as is the inclusion of the ‘suit lady’. However, I was disappointed by the experience, not because it is short as many enjoyable VR experiences are, but because it lacks the anticipated climbing/swinging that you would expect in a Spider-Man experience, and feels like a tutorial before an actual game. Yes you do get to experience being Spider-Man, but only briefly, as after you complete the target practice very little else happens. The experience could have been improved, perhaps by extending it slightly to include some of these expected actions or by creating a more engaging ending. (The Spider-Man Homecoming movie is absolutely awesome though!)
THE PRICE OF FREEDOM
The Price of Freedom is a great game. You play the game as the character Agent Zero, a female agent, on a mission to kill the mysterious Benjamin Miller. The controls, graphics, atmosphere, voice actors and soundtrack are sublime, making you fully immersed in the game. The game is also story rich and inspired by true events *no spoilers*, telling a dark and intriguing story that will leave you anticipating the next chapter which the developers plan to release in this episodic series. The gameplay involves solving puzzles which are of medium difficulty, keeping you interested and immersed. The game is flawless and also free to play.