Let The Games Begin
I have spent hours inside of VR Funhouse, and while I have my favorite games, each of them has their own little piece of my heart. Each of the VR Funhouse games has something different on show, whether it's a technological trick, or it's more casual and fun to play.
Balloon Knight is one of the first games that will really stress your system, as it features NVIDIA Flow technology which sees insanely realistic confetti falling all around you. How does the confetti fall around you? Well, you're equipped with your two Steam VR controllers and two swords - with balloons popping around.
When the balloons are floating around you, you can gently touch the balloon and do what I do - balance the balloon on the side of your sword, and then fling it up and slice it. Once the balloon pops, confetti flies out and fills the screen. It's an immersive thing to see, and that's an understatement.
NVIDIA has built in some incredible physics into Balloon Knight, so you can't just tap the balloons for them to pop - you'll have to actually put some weight into the balloon with the sword before they'll pop. The balloons will also bump into each other in a realistic way, just like they would in real life - except, I've never popped balloons with a sword in real life before.
You've got 60 seconds to shoot all of the teapots being flung at you, so use your two pistols like a champion, alright? Once the time begins to run out, the cannon fire will increase in speed, so you'll need to be a good shot to get a higher score. There will also be shards of ceramic flying at you, so be careful.
Cannon Skeet makes for a great demonstration of PhysX destruction, with some impressive physics manipulation with the guns. There are some great smoking gun effects when you pull the trigger on the pistols, which adds to the immersion. The ceramics also have realistic impact destruction when they hit the ground, too.
Clown Painter is my favorite VR Funhouse game, as it has the most incredible fluid physics I've seen in a game or VR experience yet. You'll have a 30-second time limit to fill clown's mouths with green goo that you shoot out of your two squirt guns, but the first handful of times that I played Clown Painter, I never filled the clown's mouths with the green goo.
Instead, I had way more fun spraying the green goo all over the place to see how the fluid simulation worked, and man is it impressive. I was shooting the tops of the clown's heads and watching it ooze down realistically, and then turned over to the sign board and filled the entire board with green goo, watching it slide down and form a puddle on the ground.
NVIDIA's impressive use of FleX technology makes Clown Painter an amazing VR experience, but if you want to play by the rules, you'll have to fill the clown's mouths with the green goo. If you don't want to play by the rules, aim the squirt guns into the air and shoot the goo into the sky and watch it splash on your face, and onto the ground, realistically. It's just awesome.
Personally, I didn't like Fire Archer so much, as I think Longbow in Valve's 'The Lab' is a much better representation of archery. But, NVIDIA's use of Flow technology has some impressive volumetric fire effects that outmatch what Valve did with Longbow.
Fire Archer will have you equipped with a bow, and a barrel of arrows - you'll have to reach behind to your back for your quiver filled with arrows, grab an arrow, light it on fire, and shoot at the targets. You have just 60 seconds to hit as many of the wooden targets as possible.
The haptic feedback on the Steam VR controllers is put to good use here, and so is your NVIDIA GeForce graphics card for the volumetric fire effects courtesy of NVIDIA Flow.
I've never been to a traditional carnival, so the closest I've been to a whack-a-mole is in VR Funhouse with Mole Boxing. Mole Boxing will see you with boxing gloves attached to your hands, while moles will be charging directly at your house. You'll need to punch, or box them back, in order to score points.
NVIDIA has used their HairWorks technology on Mole Boxing, where the hair on the moles flows backwards and forwards depending on where they're being punched. If you tap the mole lightly, the mole and the hair won't move that much - but if you smack it really hard, get ready for that HairWorks to kick in, in a really big way.
Better yet, you can do what myself and plenty of others have done with Mole Boxing, and put your glove over the mole's head to see how the hair reacts - and it's pretty damn realistic. Sure, NVIDIA's HairWorks isn't used that widely outside of VR Funhouse, but in VR Funhouse, it's a huge dose of immersion - and that's what we want to see in VR.
Shooting Gallery was my second favorite game in VR Funhouse, because for one - shooting in VR is ten times more realistic than clicking a mouse - or, shudder... using a controller. Secondly, the PhysX destruction is something I really wanted to push the limits of.
You can shoot the planks of wood away, which really puts the PhysX technology under strain - and note, it also requires the medium or high graphics quality settings. NVIDIA's use of PhysX destruction in Shooting Gallery is impressive, and is definitely one of the more hilarious VR experiences in VR Funhouse.
The amount of time I spent getting each shot correctly was higher than I thought, as you feel like you need to perfect each shot. Or maybe that's the old Angry Birds junkie in me... one of the two.
Whack a Mole
What good is the VR Funhouse without a second mole-based experience? Whack a Mole has you using a huge wooden mallet to smash moles as they pop out of their holes, with the moles featuring the same HairWorks technology that the Mole Boxing game did.
You'll need to smash the moles as they pop up, with the HairWorks technology being used to good effect here once again. If you look up close at the moles, you can see the paintaking detail NVIDIA has used on the hair, which is why you can't just run these games with an older GeForce GTX 760 or something.
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