Depending on what sort of personality spectrum you fall into, it’s pretty easy to categorize the sorts of games you’ll end up playing again and again, and the playability of certain genres is influenced heavily by whether or not we prefer to solo-mission around in open environments on our own, or we are driven to join hundreds of others in virtual online MMOs and procedurally generated worlds. There are some huge benefits to being the latter, and despite some cons like harassment and online bullying that can occur in multiplayer settings, in general these types of games support a proactive culture of like-minded enthusiasts. An this year there’s a lot to be excited about with some of the upcoming multiplayer Vive games either slated for an upcoming release or already available on the market now. We take a look at some of the more interesting titles, and how they fit into the multiplayer experience.
Hover Junkers (Vive – $38.69)
First on our list is a post-apocalyptic multiplayer Vive game from StressLevelZero, aptly titled Hover Junkers – with all the flavor of old Mad Max movies and some more contemporary influences that reek of Fallout and Borderlands, it’s a fair guess that this FPS vehicle-oriented maelstrom of carnage will establish itself as one of the more enticing multiplayer Vive games from Steam. The essence of the game has you flying around in a renovated beat-up junker of a hovercraft armed to the teeth with a whole array of fantastic MacGuver-esque weaponry. It’s a unique and innovative blend of semi-flight mechanics and over the top explosions and gunfire with this title, the sort of thing we might’ve gotten if the old Star Wars pod-racer games had come with artillery. On the surface, there’s some great multiplayer action here, and extremely immersive, allowing players to battle with a whole slew of other renegade junk-trawlers. Unique to this game is the fact that the haptic controllers respond to Y-axis integration in real life: what this means is that when you duck in real life, which you will have to a lot, you also duck in the game.
There is also some dynamic immersive elements to this multiplayer Vive game including a number of different death-match modes, high-adrenaline shoot-outs (think ship to ship combat of Pirates of the Caribbean), and some intensive in-game mechanics, such as having to rotate your thumb controller to reload. The main downsides, from our end, involve the fact that there aren’t enough game modes, and that there is a total lack of AI enemies or bots in this game, something that may become an issue further down the line if Hover Junkers wants to compete with other more versatile multiplayer Vive games.
Visuals: 6.5/10 – Gameplay: 8.3/10 – Story: 6/10 – Overall: 7.4/10
Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes (Vive, Rift, Gear VR – $16.99)
Taking its cue from the same sort of cooperative real-life ‘survival room’ type events, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is one of the more comedic and apt names for multiplayer Vive games in our list. Originally a PC version game, it involves two or more players, one person who was looking at a bomb on a computer screen (and can manipulate it and turn it around to look at it), and other players who have a manual in front of them. The object of the game is for the first player to describe the bomb to the other players, who then have to use the manual to try and figure out how to defuse the bomb by giving the first player instructions. If it sounds a bit hokey or boring, just take a look at the actual gameplay:
Now available on a variety of VR headsets, it makes for one of the more stressful and intense multiplayer Vive games available on Steam. To make things even more gut wrenching: there’s a time limit. As far as a simplistic game form, the sheer playability of this multiplayer Vive game probably takes the cake in terms of fun. Having several people working on the manual at the same time not only increases the urgency, but creates an atmosphere of tension that is nearly unprecedented. The beeping of the clock counting down in the background is enough to drive you mad (in the best possible way). It’s one of the cheaper games in our list as well – there is also a great opportunity for the game to produce even more scenarios, and the Free Play option lets players decide on the skill level and complexity of each bomb.
Visuals: 6/10 – Gameplay: 9.5/10 – Story: 8/10 – Overall 8.9/10
HordeZ (Vive – $21.99)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include at least one zombie game in our list of multiplayer Vive games, and this exclusive Steam title blends all the elements of your favorite 2D console games like Left 4 Dead and House of the Dead. In fact, the comparison to the latter is the biggest appeal of HordeZ. After choosing your character and loading up with a specified arsenal of weapons, you’re planted in a dark and eerie environment that is beset by a literal horde of Z’s in the form of flesh-eating malicious zombies. What is has going for it is a very fluid UI that responds well to haptics by giving you total and unrestricted access to your guns. What really made old classics like House of the Dead so good was that there was a very realistic loading and ammo system that would really trip you up if you weren’t paying attention – HordeZ takes this into account by forcing you to focus on how many bullets you have left, and there’s a real and visceral paranoia attached to this (especially when you’re being attacked on all sides and hear that tell-tale click of an empty chamber).
Unlike other multiplayer Vive games in our list though, HordeZ has a static locative element. Basically, you’re stuck in one place, and comes off as more of a fortress survival game than a narrative-based game like other zombie titles. This is the biggest weakness, since the potential of VR would have contributed to a really cool storyline. Nevertheless, as a strictly arcade-inspired FPS shooter, there’s definitely some value in it, and with a mid-price range it’s got plenty of hours of play amongst other multiplayer Vive game contenders.
Visuals: 6.5/10 – Gameplay: 7/10 – Story: 5/10 – Overall: 6.7/10
SculptVR (Vive – $21.99)
Okay, so in terms of creativity and open-world sandbox titles, there’s nothing else like SculptVR in the growing library of multiplayer Vive games. This world-creating platform allows two or more players to use their haptic controllers as veritable paintbrushes, launching users into a Minecraft looking world where basically anything can be created. The sky is the limit, including the sky. The intuitive tools of SculptVR give players the ability to build anything from the ground up, everything from miniature scenes to elaborate tree forts to floating islands shaped like tortoises to entire cities. Admittedly, the graphics are simplified, by the stylistic choice on behalf of the creators is what permits the second coolest thing about this multiplayer Vive game: most of the creations you build can be 3D printed. Although it may take some time for your delivery to arrive, the option of being able to both theoretically cooperate on the building of something, and then to see it realized, makes SculptVR a must have.
Visuals: 7.5/10 – Gameplay: 8.9/10 – Story: N/A – Overall: 8.5/10
Star Trek: Bridge Crew (PSVR, Vive, Rift – TBA)
We already took a brief look at Star Trek: Bridge Crew, but it deserves a mention again. Although it’s been delayed in its release (most likely, we hope, to accommodate cross-platform compatibility), we’re willing to be it will be one of the more highly anticipated multiplayer Vive games of 2017. This game is also unique to the rest we’ve looked at because it’s one of the few that is exclusively multiplayer – while there are some single-player options for other multiplayer Vive games like HordeZ, for example, this addition to the Star Trek franchise won’t really achieve the same level of fun unless you have four people playing it. Each person assumes a different role on the bridge of a fictional starship, and it’s only through actively communicating amongst each other and performing individual tasks and duties that players can hope to manage their ship and overcome a whole range of different missions, everything from enemy encounters to mysterious anomalies. We’re still crossing our fingers for this one, but all the evidence so far points to a title that will easily meet – if not exceed – every demographic, from those just looking for a good game right down to the hard core Trekkies.
Visuals: 8.7/10 – Gameplay: 9/10 – Story: 7/10 – Overall: 8.8/10
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