‘Kusunda’ VR Short Film Review

Kusunda is an excellent VR film from NowHere that asks some important questions about family, legacy and the impermanence of culture itself. We meet Lil Bahadur, former member of the Kusunda people, and learn what he and his granddaughter are doing to memorialize their language before it is forgotten.

Kusunda is a VR cinematic documentary about a tribe of hunter-gatherers, the language they spoke, and what their legacy will be in today’s world. The experience has a really interesting extra feature where it asks you to try to pronounce a certain few words or phrases of the Kusunda people at specific times during the story. Players can opt out of this system, though I do not recommend doing so. I found myself particularly more engaged in listening to the language and its pronunciation, knowing that I would be asked to attempt to speak it.

Kusunda also features some of the best visual storytelling I have seen in a documentary in this style: from the swooping 3d footage of Nepal’s hills and valleys, to a storybook-like retelling of the protagonist’s anecdotes in animated fashion. I found myself emotionally moved by the story of Lil Bahadur and his granddaughter – especially by the little twist at the end of the Kusunda VR experience. I can easily recommend this to any who enjoy these sorts of VR films, particularly those who might appreciate the novelty introduced here by the voice recording mechanic.

I experienced Kusunda on Viveport Infinity on an Oculus Quest 2 through Virtual Desktop, in the seated position. Everything worked smoothly with no technical issues or VR instability.

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Shooting Baskets at the Arcade- ‘Just Hoops’ VR Review

Just Hoops is one of the best sports games I’ve played since owning the Quest. Its mastery over the feeling of holding and then throwing the ball is true immersion. Add this to a chill arcade atmosphere, and its immersion at its best. This game is all about shooting baskets at the arcade while upping the difficulty in a series of different challenges and themes.

Advice for new players: Please spend as much time on the easier levels as necessary. Personally, I had a lot of trouble initially just trying to understand how to properly hold the ball with my Oculus Quest controllers. I had even more issues when it came to throwing the dang thing with any accuracy. However, I’m glad I stuck with Just Hoops, because once I grokked the game’s core concept, I really was able to enjoy and appreciate it.

Just Hoops feels like it has a lot of potential to grow – the developer has added several updates since launch. Most recently they added dozens of new challenges and plenty of new cosmetic designs to change things up for players. I’m looking forward to seeing what’s next from this team – whether it’s a Just Hoops port natively on Quest, or a new project, I am positive they are going to be a slam dunk.

Hello, I’m IndieSam! I write reviews for this blog and my Steam Curator page. A copy of Just Hoops was provided for review by the Steam Curator program.

Break everything! ‘Smashing Time’ Review

Playing through Smashing Time’s half dozen levels was a great time as I got to experiment with lots of the tools and weapons that we’ve been provided. My favorite moment was drawing swearwords with chalk on blackboards in the classroom before smashing all the things. This was in the new School Update which apparently released two whole months after launch.

As for the comfort settings of the game, it was actually fairly easy for me – player locomotion worked mostly pretty well, though there is a need for a clearly reachable comfort settings menu. I did have a small issue with being disoriented when I first loaded into the game, mostly because the load screen looked so bizarre to me.

Smashing Time plays great, even on my 1060 graphics card. Flipping tables, smashing glass bottles, shooting wall art, spray-painting all over the place, it felt really fun. This game is truly unique, as a product only the magic of VR and indie VR developers could bring us. I’m hoping to see more from this developer, whether its continued optimization and new levels of Smashing Time, or their next project – I’m sure it’ll be great!

Played using a copy of the game sent by the developer through the Curator Connect platform. Follow me on Steam Curator for more under-appreciated indie game gems!

Relax, Examine, Reflect: Chill, Immersive Fieldtrips in ‘VR Walking Simulator’ (Review)

VR Walking Simulator is something simple: Players will take a nice and quiet walk through the woods in virtual reality with an ingame polaroid camera to capture photos of a variety of levels.

The idea of games with no objectives or enemies is interesting, but it means there’s not much to keep most players engaged after they’ve explored each map. I’m aware some people like to relax in VR headsets and meditate, and I wonder if VR Walking Simulator would work for that. The music and background noises are perfect as they are relaxing and mostly quiet.

I should probably add that the VR version of the game worked perfectly for me, but when I tried changing the settings the game went a little crazy, and because of the camera interface, I ended up with a LOT of Steam screenshots of myself stuck under the floor. Once my pure panic stopped, I was able to figure out how to adjust the settings to work for me. There is also a non-VR version that runs very smoothly, complete with the camera for screenshots.

The developer of VR Walking Simulator has made something special here – I feel like I would love to see more of this sort of thing in the future, though maybe with a little bit of busywork? I’d love to spend more time exploring these lovingly crafted levels, especially if there was just a bit more to them than what is presented.

I do recommend VR Walking Simulator, though buyers need to be aware there are only so many maps with little content in them other than exploring and photographing the eye-pleasing scenarios.

Played using a copy sent by the developer through Steam’s Curator Connect platform – Follow me on Steam at  IndieSamAdonisReviews for under-appreciated indie games, neat VR experiences, and all sorts of other funstuffs! I’m also on Twitter!

‘Trover Saves the Universe’ Review – A Specific Sense of Humor

Trover Saves the Universe is fine. Mechanically it’s inoffensive and nice enough to play, narratively It’s basic as heck, and comedically it offends a lot of people in the ways we expect from something advertising itself as “by the creator of Rick & Morty”. What I’m trying to say, is the game is fine. No real problems here – if you enjoy the humor, you’ll have a good time.

The game is acceptably good, depending on the audience. But holy heck, it goes on forever. And the characters never stop talking.  Oh, and there are collectibles hidden on each level to keep the characters talking on and on even further. Fortunately the combat is engaging and fun, with a decent variety of enemies to fight.

I won’t go into the humor or the specific jokes of the game – I think there are more qualified people than me to say why things are/aren’t funny. Instead I’ll just say there was enough entertainment value that I was both enjoying myself and fairly uncomfortable through my six hours of playtime.

Do I recommend Trover Saves the Universe? Yes, but it’s a thin line. I don’t recommend it to a lot of people I know. But here are the facts – Trover Saves the Universe has…

  • Solid combat mechanics.
  • Good exploration with plenty of collectibles for players to find.
  • A well-defined sense of humor in its presentation.

I played Trover Saves the Universe in VR on an Oculus Quest 2 on SteamVR, as purchased by myself.

This review was posted to my Steam Curator page! It’d mean a huge amount to me if you followed it!

The VR demos of Steam’s ‘Play What’s Next’ Festival 2021

I’ve been loving the Steam Demo festival, Play What’s Next! So far I have mostly checked out the upcoming VR games – here are my thoughts on some of them.

TossVR – we play as an acrobatic ape climbing through jungle gym playgrounds of increasing difficulties. I had a lot of fun trying to figure out the exact movements and speed and everything required to get through! Very satisfying when you get to punch the “I finished the level” button! It’s also super colorful and happy to look at, so the game really improved my spirits! Steam link

BoomBox – this is a rhythm game in the style of something like Beat Saber, but wow it’s so much nicer to look at! There were only two songs available in the demo, but the dev promises to have a LOT more with a bunch of environments to go through. In the level that was available, it’s like you’re jogging down a trail and the whole experience is just so dang smooth and chill. This might sound stubborn, but if the devs price this under Beat Saber’s $30, I’ll definitely be buying it for its full release this month! Hope others will too, because a lot of work clearly went into making this game so seamless and relaxing. Steam link.

Sword Reverie – A JRPG with anime style visuals and HUGE SWORDS? It was fun! I only did part of the demo, but it was mostly just following a path and talking to characters, then combat, and you rinse/repeat. I think the devs have bigger plans than this though, based on the magic resource management system that’s in the game? Basically you have spells you can cast depending on how you wave your HUGE SWORDS and which element they have equipped. It felt so dang good Fus-Roh-Dah’ing badguys across whole dang battlefields with an arm swing, since all the enemies have ragdoll physics. Steam link.

I’ll be playing more demos on Steam, until the Play What’s Next festival ends on February 9th. Be sure to follow along on this blog, Instagram, and Twitter for all the cool stuffs.