LOS ANGELES - Samsung Gear VR players are in for a treat. Since releasing the Galaxy S6 version of its mobile virtual reality headset in June, Samsung has been hard at work beefing up its already robust catalog with several new games as well as 360-degree content from Milk VR. I had the opportunity to go hands on with a few upcoming titles at the Oculus Connect 2 Conference and was encouraged by the variety of new experiences.
Ocean Rift - Ocean Rift - This gives swimming with the fishes a whole new meaning. Billed as the "world's first VR aquatic safari park," I explored the deep blue sea of Ocean Rift while admiring its denizens. The demo was a cornucopia of life filled with sea turtles, sharks and a few playful dolphins. Although swimming with whales is thrilling, the game kicked things up another notch by introducing a few prehistoric reptiles into the mix.
Into the Dead - PikPok - It's two parts Temple Run mixed with one part Dead Trigger. Into the Dead takes a ghoulish, spin on the popular endless runner. Once the game begins, your job is to stay alive by navigating through the zombie hordes by moving the left analog stick when one of the undead rears its decomposing head. But fear not, power ups sprinkled throughout the course will provide guns, power-ups and even a canine companion to help you run to safety relatively unscathed.
PhaseShift - Developer Dual Reality Games - Mixing old-school 8-bit graphics with 3D environments PhaseShift is a side-scrolling platformer with a bit of a twist. You control a magical lens that reveals an alien world that overlaps our own. Using the lens, you're tasked with navigating your way through both worlds on a mission to stop a cataclysmic event from occurring.
Hitman GO - Square Enix's popular mobile game is making the leap to VR. As the series protagonist Agent 47, players are tasked with eliminating high-risk targets while navigating fixed spaces on a grid in this turn-based puzzler. The ability to take a 360-degree view of the board really comes in handy when plotting your next move.
Adventure Time: Magic Man's Head Games - This latest title from Cartoon Network's popular animated series pits heroes Finn and Jake against Magic Man, a known troublemaker in the land of Ooh. Gamers are on a mission to reverse a curse on Tiny, the protagonists' newest friend in this third-party platformer. You'll run, jump, fight and stretch your way through the colorful world in a 360-degree playground.
Tactera - VR Pill - Tactera is what you get when you cross Command & Conquer, Mission Command with just a dash of "WarGames". You only have one mission in this tabletop Real-Time Strategy title, total domination of the board. You start off with six bases, each with its own set of troops. You send your army to conquer a nearby enemy base by looking at your base, clicking select and then looking at what you want to attack. From there, the battle begins as your artillery, tanks and air forces go out and wage war. However your opponent is sending out their own forces in their attempt to turn the tide in their favor. It's a battle of wits and strategy to completely rule the board.