Aaaaaculus! Oculus Rift Review

Posted March 31, 2014 by in All

Developer: Owlchemy Labs
 
Release Date: 10-07-2013
 
Game Type: Flight, Sky Diving
 
Platform: PC, Mac
 
HMD: Oculus Rift
 
Control Schemes: Keyboard & Mouse, Xbox Controller
 
Download: click here
 
All Games: ,
 
 
 
 

Best Part:

Getting in 'the zone' and performing impossibly dangerous mid-air manoeuvres.
 

Worst Part:

Menu navigation is confusing.
 
Bottom Line

The Oculus Rift support has been very well implemented, making Aaaaaculus! the definitive verison of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!

Rating

Graphics
 
 
 
 
 


Sound
 
 
 
 
 


Controls
 
 
 
 
 


Gameplay
 
 
 
 
 


Comfort Level
 
 
 
 
 


Immersion
 
 
 
 
 


Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

by Edmund
Full Article

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome is an adaptation of Dejobaan games’ award-winning, basejumping game – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity.

The game includes a native Oculus mode called Aaaaaculus! Just as in the original you hurl yourself off a building and fall at breakneck speed before either deploying your parchute fins to land gracefully or hitting a surface with a crunch. The concept certainly seems vertigo-inducing, but in reality, Aaaaaculus! is far more comfortable than it has any right to be.

base jumping 1Scoring points as you fall will earn you a certain star ranking on each level. The higher star ranking you get, the more “teeth” you earn, which can be used to unlock new levels. There are 125 in total and whilst no particular one is especially memorable, they are all well designed. Stages that have you falling past flying cars are among the most thrilling to experience in the Rift. The learning curve is handled well, layering on new concepts gradually early on. Initially you score points by falling close to buildings or flying into gamey floating coloured squares. As you progress further, complexity is added, with the ability to earn points by giving thumbs ups to your fans as you zoom past them, or by making obscene gestures to the haters. Some levels provide the opportunity to earn points by spraypainting government property as you fall.

In many levels, mastery involves not just skill and quick reactions but also an element of discovery, to actually find the most optimal paths. This makes for very compulsive gameplay with suprising depth. The level progression means that initially you will steadily unlock content by earning just 2 or 3 stars, but later you will need to revisit some stages to push for higher scores. The overall progression is like that of an addictive arcade or mobile game.There is definitely an increase in difficulty, but there always seems to be something else to unlock. Once you get into it you’ll be driven to try to unlock everything.

base jumping 3A lot of work has clearly gone into Aaaaaculus! to ensure that it’s a comfortable experience for the Rift. The work has certainly paid off – this doesn’t just support the display and headtracking – Aaaaaculus! feels like it has been made for the Rift. The heads-up display has been removed, and while it is a shame you can’t track your performance during play, this has obviously contributed to reducing simulation sickness. As has resisting the temptation to make the player steer their body by looking. The jarring crunch and subtle perspective shift when you hit a surface at high speed certainly has an effect on you but it feels like a fitting punishment for failure and is never nauseating. You can easily spend an exhillerating evening playing Aaaaaculus and not only feel fine, but wonder where the time went. Of course, I still wouldn’t recommend the game to someone who suffers from severe Vertigo, but I wouldn’t recommend the PC version to such a person.

A game like this lives or dies by it’s soundtrack and Aaaaaculus! is filled with catchy electric guitar riffs that are guaranteed to get you in the zone and promote a sense of flow. The music fits well with the tongue-in-cheek punky, skater-kid tone of the game, which takes the adolescent notion of extreme sports as an act of rebellion to an absurd extreme. It’s reminiscent of a game like Crazy Taxi, and this is no bad thing. Visually, the game looks good but it’s not striving for realism. The impossible, non-sensical architecture confirm that the visuals are entirely in service to the gameplay and aren’t there to wow you, so much as to be readable. The main negative design point is that the menus are not easy to make sense of on the Rift’s display.

base jumping 2AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAAA!!! for the Awesome is a solid title even if you don’t own a Rift, but I would not go back to playing it on a normal screen now that I’ve tried it in VR. It has a lot of replayability and the care that has gone into optimising it for the Oculus has really paid off. It is one of the most enjoyable and compulsive full releases currently available for the headset. If you’re a fan of endless runner games or any score-driven, high-speed racing game then you’ll enjoy this. If you’re prone to spending a whole evening telling yourself that you’ll stop when you “just get five stars on this next level”, then approach with caution.

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About the Author

Edmund

Edmund Ward is a philosophy graduate who has focused on aesthetics and cultural critique in the information age. He grew up with 'the dream of the holodeck' and is prone to get very excited by new innovations in natural user-interfaces. Edmund is currently looking for volunteers to look after the glucose drip that will sustain his "fleshform" (as he insists on calling it) when he migrates permanently to VR.

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