Last week we were greeted with the appearance of 2 new games in the Oculus store, PolyRunner VR and Cerevrum; each of which is a welcome new addition to the somewhat limited world of VR gaming. Both of these games are free and available for download now in the Oculus store, and I would recommend downloading them both and giving them a try and here’s why.
PolyRunner VR is a game that’s brilliance can be found in its simplicity; and in that fact that it’s one of those games where as soon as you lose, and you will, you instantly want to try again. The basics of this game are that you are piloting a ship which moves to the left or right based on how you move your head, that’s it. Naturally there are things for you to dodge, and rings for you to fly through for bonus points or power ups along the way, but the core concept of this game is really simple; and because of how easy it is to just dive in and start with little to no instruction needed there is a lot of replay value. The only real criticism I have of this game is the fact that you cannot move up and down in addition to moving side to side. The way the game is set up, and based on how the controls work, you initially expect to be able to fly up and down as well; maybe we’ll see this added in an update or a different game. Still in spite of this one flaw I found the game very fun and will definitely be playing it again.
Throw out any preconceived notions you may have about this game, because it isn’t quite what you’re going to expect, and there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye. Cerevrum is a game where you’re put on an unfamiliar planet in space and have a companion giving you a general overview of the game, controls, objectives, ect. The premise of the game is to enter various planets and defend them from invaders. How you defend the planets is where the game aspect comes into play; invaders come in waves and you have to operate certain mechanics in order to kill the invaders before they kill you. One such mechanic is following 3 orbs around the screen and remembering which one was which color; the other mechanics initially introduced are also based on memory and problem solving, and this is where the uniqueness of Cerevrum comes in.
Cerevrum is being labeled as ‘The first VR brain training game.’ The game’s creators go into detail about how the game’s difficulty adapts for each player based on how well or poorly they are performing; and how the mechanics of the game are meant to improve cognition. This concept has been tried and tested in smartphone and tablets, and the results have largely been negative; showing that ‘brain training’ apps are not an effective way to improve cognitive abilities. The jury is still out on whether or not virtual reality games and apps like Cerevrum will be able to accomplish what prior brain training apps have been unable to do; but being in the immersive environment of virtual reality might just be the key to getting positive results out of these types of brain training apps. Either way Cerevrum is a very fun, and very engaging game and I think it’s definitely worth a download; especially if it has the potential to make you smarter.