XR, or Extended Reality, is a rapidly growing field that encompasses virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), and mixed reality (MR) technologies. These technologies have the potential to revolutionize how we interact with the digital world and offer new and exciting ways for people to engage with content. Let us will explore two VR games that I particularly enjoy: Beat Saber (2019) and Rumble (2022).
First, let’s take a look at Beat Saber. Beat Saber was revolutionary for its time, being one of the first games to fully embrace the VR medium, making good use of its interaction types and immersive qualities. Developed by Beat Games, Beat Saber is a VR rhythm game that has players slash through blocks representing musical beats with a pair of glowing swords. The game is set in a futuristic, neon-lit world, and players must slash the blocks in time with the beat of the music, while also avoiding obstacles that fly towards them.
What I like about Beat Saber is the way it immerses players in the game’s world. The neon-lit visuals and electronic music are incredibly engaging, and the sense of motion and physicality created by the VR headset and controllers makes it feel like you’re really in the game. The scoring system rewards long and accurate swings, encouraging players to commit to the satisfying motion of slashing that is unique to this medium. They also borrow the concept of sabers from the lightsabers in Star Wars, which gives players something familiar and intuitive to use, while also letting players live out the fantasy of wielding the sci-fi weapon.
One area where Beat Saber could be improved is in the variety of its content. While the game has a large selection of levels and songs, the gameplay itself does not change much from level to level. Adding more variety in gameplay, such as different types of blocks or obstacles, could make the game feel fresh and keep players engaged for longer. Examples include targets that players need to stab or look at, which are still immersive interactions that the VR medium offers.
Now, let us take a look at Rumble. Rumble is one of the up-and-coming VR games that takes gesture controls to a whole new level. Developed by Buckethead Entertainment, Rumble is a VR one-on-one fighting game where players use martial arts-like movements to move the earth around them. Players erect walls and hurl rocks at their opponents, damaging them and knocking them out.
Everything I liked about Beat Saber can be seen implemented in Rumble as well. The act of controlling and dodging objects in the space around you is incredibly immersive. The gesture controls encourage exaggerated and fun movements that make the player feel like they are actually fighting. And of course, the main mechanic borrows itself from earth bending in Avatar: The Last Airbender, again being familiar, intuitive, and fascinating.
On top of that, Rumble goes above and beyond in its polish. The UI is unobtrusive – you look down to see your health in an arc on the ground, and the enemy’s health is displayed above them when you damage them, but other than that there is no UI at all which makes the experience extremely immersive. The particle effects help sell the movement and collision of the earth in the game in a very aesthetic manner. It is also surprisingly realistic, where rocks lift up dust from the ground as they emerge, and explode into a cloud of dust when they collide. This is not only immersive but also a surprising hidden mechanic of the game, obscuring vision in the middle of battle. Lastly, there are also small interactions like the ability to fistbump your opponent after a fight that really puts the cherry on top.
I’m addicted please send help.