Every now and then, a game's title tells you every single thing you need to know about it. "Shark Punch" is one of those games. This proof-of-concept experiment from developer Chaotic Moon invites gamers to venture underwater with an Oculus Rift and punch sharks in the face, over and over.
Tom's Guide checked out "Shark Punch" at SXSW 2014, and although it may never exist as a retail release, it got its point across. Chaotic Moon developed the game in order to showcase what a Leap Motion motion control peripheral could do in conjunction with the Oculus Rift virtual reality goggles.
The setup was fairly elaborate: we had to put on an Oculus Rift with a Leap Motion sensor attached to the front of it. Chaotic Moon representatives rigged us up to a system of wires that kept us grounded, to ensure that we would not move too far from where the game could track us.
"Shark Punch" itself was extremely simple, although not without its charms. The player stays in one spot at the bottom of the ocean, surrounded by rocky cliffs and coral reefs. Although the waters seem placid at first, they are actually infested with man-eating sharks.
As the sharks approach, the player has two choices: punch them into oblivion or die. In order to punch sharks, the player has to put up his or her dukes, then unleash a short jab. If a player times a punch correctly, the oncoming shark explodes into a bloody mist. If not, the player dies.
Aside from an alarm when sharks approach and multiple sharks attacking as the game progresses, "Shark Punch" has little else to offer. However, the idea was not to produce a deep (or even salable) game, but rather to demonstrate what the Leap Motion might be able to accomplish in conjunction with VR gaming.
PC gamers have not exactly led the charge to adopt motion control technology, but if the Oculus Rift brings VR gaming into the mainstream, it may become a more appealing prospect.
Gamers may never get the chance to punch sharks for themselves, but this innocuous little title may lead the way for more immersive PC games. Perhaps in the future, gamers will be able to punch aliens or terrorists instead.