App Lab Spotlight: Old Rift Favorites on Quest, Home Billiards, and Infinite Labyrinths

Oculus Blog
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December 20, 2021
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Welcome back to App Lab Spotlight, the series where I recommend a handful of App Lab projects I’ve enjoyed recently. No specific criteria beyond that—just me, my Quest 2, and a willingness to try pretty much anything.

Ahead of this third installment I dabbled in a ton of new App Lab games, and there were a lot of standouts. There’s an app that simulates the effect rising oceans will have on Santa Cruz, another that chronicles the history of human communications in a faux-amusement park ride, one that lets you build model railroads, and so much more. App Lab is a vibrant (and often very surprising) place.

But below I’ve highlighted four games in particular—a new roomscale experiment, a puzzle game that looks to the stars, the return of a Rift Platform fan favorite, and one for all the billiards fans who can’t find the space for an entire billiards table. Read on for more details.

Best of all: We recently expanded App Gifting to App Lab. If you have friends or family who might appreciate a glimpse at some up-and-coming or experimental games—or just need a friend to play Cards & Tankards with—you can now purchase copies for them just like you would on the Quest Store. Perfect for some last-minute holiday shopping!

Tea for God


In our last App Lab Spotlight I wrote about a promising game called TraVRsal. Following in the footsteps of early roomscale experiments like Unseen Diplomacy, TraVRsal uses non-Euclidean level design and quite a few elevators to generate endless labyrinths you can physically walk around. By the end you’ve walked for miles without ever leaving your Guardian bounds.

Tea for God falls into this same category, shuffling you through every inch of your VR space as you wind through its corridors. But Tea for God uses these mechanics to dramatic effect, plunging you into a science fiction world on a mission to kill the God Emperor—and avenge your family. Journeying across an ocean of sand dunes at the outset, you soon enter a massive windowless cube that “no human has ever left alive,” only to find a sprawling mechanical landscape inside. It’s an intriguing world, with a robust upgrade system and plenty of difficulty options (including infinite ammo and health) for those who just want to see the story to its end.

Skybinder


The animals are in the stars. You just need to look for them—and then connect the dots, in Skybinder. A relaxing puzzle game in the vein of Cubism or Puzzling Places, Skybinder serves up increasingly complicated clusters of dots that you need to join together.

The catch: Each dot is labeled with the number of other dots it can connect to, so you can’t just jump in there and start drawing lines at random. Connect three dots correctly and they’ll form into a solid triangle. Connect these triangles and they’ll eventually form the shape of an animal, be it a rabbit, a fish, or even a giraffe. It’s both calming and adorable, with a gentle color palette and soundtrack to underpin those wholesome vibes.

Windlands


Originally a Rift launch title, Windlands recently made its way to the Quest Platform via App Lab. When I first demoed Windlands—way back, before the Oculus Rift officially released—most of the VR games I’d played were slow and deliberate. Teleport motion reigned supreme, while the more ambitious games put you in a cockpit and showed you the world through a narrow window. And then there was Windlands, this game that promised to let you swing from the trees like your friendly neighborhood web-slinger.

It sounded intense—and it’s still fairly intense, five or six years later. It’s also incredible, though. Even now, few games let you toy with momentum and speed like Windlands, to hurl yourself into danger without a second thought. Swing from tree to tree, propel yourself across gaps and up the side of towering cliffs, and uncover the secrets of this crumbling world. If you like games like STRIDE and Yupitergrad, this is your chance to see where the entire “VR Parkour'' genre began, and uncover the secrets behind this mysterious fractured world.

Black Hole Pool


If I put a pool table in my apartment, there wouldn’t be room for much else. Luckily Black Hole Pool has me covered nowadays. A sophisticated recreation of the real-world game, Black Hole Pool lets you chalk your cue and sink a few shots with friends—or compete in ranked matches with people around the world—without dedicating an entire space as “The Billiards Room.” If you love the game, you’ll hopefully find those skills translate over pretty well, thanks to an impressively realistic physics simulation. And if not? You can practice by yourself if, like me, you’re not-so-secretly terrible at wielding a pool cue.

What I like most about Black Hole Pool though is that you can just hang out there. The virtual room is centered on the pool table, but a massive YouTube-ready screen is mounted on the nearby wall. Invite some friends over and make an evening of it—throw on some music videos maybe, or rent a movie. It’s your space, and it comes furnished with an incredible pool simulation to fill the spaces between the conversations. There’s even a dimly lit bar environment these days, so no need to line up quarters at your local dive anymore.


Looking for more App Lab recommendations? Check out our previous App Lab Spotlight lists from June and August!