Developers and designers are still figuring out movement in this crazy virtual reality thing. Some early games have you walking around in a space no bigger than a small room, others have you teleporting, and some even turn you into a virtual camera while controlling a character from third-person. But what about some of the wilder means of locomotion we’ve seen in games?
Well, Windlands, a launch game for the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, demonstrates that developers can do something as intense as swinging hundreds of feet through the air like Spider-Man in VR without destroying the player’s brain.
Developer Cyber Fox Games built Windlands for multiple headsets, but we tried it out with the Vive because its action seems to fit best with HTC’s motion controllers. In Windlands, you get a pair of grappling hooks to swing around a bright, cartoon-style environment. It’s an incredible sensation made to feel even more immersive because you are actually holding out your hands to aim with Vive’s handheld wands. The experience took some getting used to because my mind was telling my body that it was flying through the air when I was really standing stationary in my living room, but I quickly got the hang of things and fell in love with what I was doing.
Windlands is out now on Steam for $20, but you can get it for $17 through April 12. And it’s something I would recommend if you want to understand the potential for large-scale games that require you to do a lot of simulated motion.
Windlands confirms that you can make just about any kind of game in VR. The Vive is best suited to room-scale experiences that have the player walking around inside of a small space. Windlands, however, proves that the Vive is not limited to small worlds and teleporting (which is how most games empower players to get around bigger landscapes in VR). Instead, a gameplay mechanic that we first got on a PlayStation 2 in 2004 with Spider-Man 2 translates in a way that both makes sense in VR and is thrilling because of the new headset technology.
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