With What the Bat?, the Quest 2 version of Maskmaker, Final Soccer Pro and Thief Simulator VR: Greenview Street we’re looking at four recent releases for the Quest for those who are interested in playing a bit of VR over the holidays.
What The Bat? review (Quest)
You may remember developer Triband from What the Golf?, which they released two years ago. Silly and absurd, it used the sport of golf to deliver a silly and absurdist physics-based experience. And although not based on a sport, What the Bat? does something similar with a more narrative-driven content, and it’s equally fun to play.
In What the Bat?, you play as a character who has baseball bats instead of regular hands, which of course is an interesting setup for another physics-based title – but this time in VR, making great use of motion controllers. As a ‘slice of life’ type of campaign that takes you through a variety of scenarios in fun and creative levels What the Bat? feels a bit like VR hits such as Job Simulator – especially so because your journey will even take you to your day job.
Naturally, having bats for hands can make you a bit clumsy at whatever you do, so this was always going to be comedy-style game that doesn’t take itself too seriously. What that translates to is a series of often-absurd scenarios that are as fun as they are diverse. And although the premise sounds gimmicky, the developers have managed to stretch the experience to a very respectable four hours of gameplay – very decent for a VR title.
With its reliance on motion controls and unique premise, What the Bat is one of those games that could only really work in VR – which have been some of our favorite VR experiences so far. It may be a bit simplistic in its premise and its audiovisual presentation, but we had a blast with it and can easily recommend it if you’re looking for something unique that’s going to put a smile on your face.
Maskmaker review (Quest)
InnerspaceVR released Maskmaker together with Vertigo Games back in the spring of last year, and we really enjoyed it when we reviewed it on PSVR. They’ve now managed to squeeze the game down to a mobile VR format, allowing us to test it once more on a Quest 2 headset.
Content-wise and in terms of game mechanics, this is the same experience that was previously released on other platforms, but the switch to the Quest does come with a few differences, depending in part on what version you’re comparing it too. Coming from the PSVR version, we instantly noticed that the Touch controller provides a much more immersive experience when grabbing and decorating masks in the game. We totally understand why Sony’s implementing a redesign for PSVR2 and it’s one of the most exciting features of the headset that’s coming in two months.
Other changes are more technical in nature and relate more to the performance of the game. Visually, things are quite similar on the surface, as the Quest version retains the same look and feel of its bigger siblings. There’s a slight decrease in visual fidelity, though what’s more noticeable is the pop-in that occurs a bit more on the Quest version. You’ll also notice that the transitions between worlds (that occur when putting on masks) are a bit less seamless this time around – short load screens pop up each time this happens now as the Quest loads a new area into its memory. Despite the hardware limitations, however, this is a great VR title and it’s great to have it on the Quest.
Final Soccer Pro review (Quest)
Recently released in its full version on the Meta Quest headset, Final Soccer Pro is an enhanced and expanded port of Final Goalie, which came out for PC-based headsets years ago. As one of the earlier Ivanovich Games titles, we’ve had to wait quite a while for it to arrive on the Quest, but for football/soccer fans it’s definitely been worth the wait.
Obviously soccer is going to be a hard sport to simulate in VR, as leg tracking is barely a thing outside of a few experimental setups, so the core mechanic of the game here sees you wearing the goalkeeper’s gloves, trying to stop incoming shots. It works very well, though the immersion does get broken by the fact that you’re not physically diving towards the corners – for obvious reasons.
With its simple concept, the game is reminiscent of early VR titles like Headmaster, which focused on headers, especially when you get the objective/mission-based Pro version that includes 300 levels. You’re not required to play those though, and Final Soccer is actually completely free if you go for the standard version – which still includes all of the other game modes, including arcade and simulation modes.
As a game that’s simple and intuitive, this is a nice option to let others play. The ball physics are decent, the game looks the part and there’s even a way to pair it with a mobile app and let other take shots at you – which makes it almost like a party game. With a free version out there, there’s little reason to not try this one out.
Thief Simulator VR: Greenview Street review (Quest)
Who doesn’t love a good heist movie? There’s something about the careful planning and execution, and the often clever twists, that makes you identify with what normally would be the bad guys. Thief Simulator VR: Greenview Street for the Quest 2 puts you in their shoes, planning your own heists and then executing them – and hopefully making it out safely.
Developer 3R Games’ new Quest game might sound familiar to you though, and that’s because Thief Simulator VR was released on Steam back in 2020. Greenview Street for the Quest is a stripped down version of that game that only contains the titular neighborhood to perform heists in, but one that makes use of Quest-specific features like the option to go wireless, which is great when ducking for cover or turning. The difference in content isn’t reflected in the price though, so if you have access to a VR-PC then that’s something to keep in mind.
Focusing more on the game itself, Thief Simulator VR doesn’t feature the kind of elaborate schemes you’ll see in the movies – you’re more of a professional cat burglar here, robbing houses in a neighborhood and not banks or museums. There’s still a degree of planning and scheming involved though, as you have to scope out the situation for a good point of entry and possible escape routes before even heading in.
There’s a campaign/progression system in place as well, where you upgrade your gear and skills with the loot you manage to sneak out and the odd job here and there. It’s a fun loop, and when you trigger an alarm and the police come rushing in it’s thrilling to be able to avoid detection. The lack of an exciting narrative or intriguing locations to steal from makes the loop a bit repetitive at times, so we’d recommend shorter gameplay sessions for this one.
And while Thief Simulator VR: Greenview Street isn’t the best looking game on the Quest 2, we’ve already seen a few impressive updates from the developer since the game was launched – we especially liked the recent upgrade to the day/night cycle that gave us the sense that the “cover of darkness” really made a difference. If you’re looking to channel your inner thief, this is a nice way to do it on the Quest.