Some days ago I finally tried a game that every Vive owner has tried decades ago: Nvidia® VR Funshouse (The ® is super-fundamental, like the ™ in Monkey Island saga…). This is one of the most used games in VR showcases (along The Lab, Job Simulator and few other ones).

VR Funhouse has been made by NVIDIA® for the following reasons:

  • To show us that they’re cool (but we already knew that after trying their GEFORCE GTX1080);
  • To show their commitment towards VR;
  • To show cool stuff that you can do with a NVIDIA® graphics cards (during the game there are lots of fancy things that stress the card… the Maximum graphical level of the game requires 2 GTX1080!!! W000t, so luxurious! (Honestly, I’ve only one but the game worked flawlessly));
  • To show their PhysX physics engine capabilities: in VR, realistic physics becomes even more important and they wanted to show us that they’re ready for this challenge.

I’ve made this long introduction because this is what the game is: a showcase of NVIDIA® capabilities: it’s their way of saying “I’m sexy and I know it”, not a true VR game.

In VR Funhouse you find yourself inside an amusement park (a carnival) and you play a collection of minigames using your hands (i.e. your controllers, like Oculus Touch). Both Vive and Oculus are supported… but remember that this is a SteamVR game only!

In these minigames you have very few time to accomplish very simple tasks: it’s like being in a fun fair, so there are games like mini-basket, whack-a-mole, archery (ehm no, this is usually not inside amusement park nowadays…maybe in the middle ages). Every minigame has a little blackboard where you can see the instructions on what you have to do (but usually the task is very simple: in the mini-basket, you have to score, of course). You have 30seconds-1 minute to perform the maximum amount of points possible. After that, you will hear a buzzer and you can still be there playing and having fun, but whatever points you’ll made will not count in the final score. With a pressure of your controller button, you can go to next minigame. After the end of all minigames, you’ll see your final score.

NVidia VR funhouse game review
My first scores: not that great, but hey, it was my first time!

Example of mini-games are:

  • Whack-a-mole: you have a big hammer in your hands and you have to whack moles on their heads;
  • Punch-moles: something like whack-a-mole, but you have to punch them in boxing-sytle. Very useful if you had a very stressful day;
  • Archery: you have to put on fire arrow tips and then shoot them against various bullseyes. This is the perfect demo to showcase physics engine functionalities: there is the fire (so physics of fire particles), arrow (gravity, speed, etc…) and bullseye (collision). And it is one of the most amusing of the whole demo;

    NVidia VR funhouse game review
    Archer game was so cool that I felt like Robin Hood (notice the panel with game instructions on the right)
  • Shoot the clowns: you have guns filled with liquid and you have to shoot some clowns in their mouth. Very easy to see how liquid mechanics is the main theme of this demo;
  • Mini-basket: the one you see in amusement parks;
  • Launch-the-octopus: you have to launch some kind of jelly octopuses towards a bullseye. But the octopuses slide towards the ground and you never score a point, so I did not get it. Maybe it is a strange minigame born after someone has watched too many Hentai.
NVidia VR funhouse game review
Die, clowns die!!

Is it funny? Yes, I think it is. Every mini-game is a “meh”, it is very simple and stupid, but the fact that you have lots of mini-games, so different in generes, one after the other and with the urge of the few time available makes it funny. Lots of games are physical, so you have to punch stuff and this makes even great to relieve from stress :). I had fun playing with it.

I don’t think it’s the best game ever, of course. But if you play it with your friends at a VR party, you can have lot of fun together: and the final score can serve as a challenge between players to make the game last for long. I think that it is also great to showcase VR to people, because it offers them simple interactions in a funny demo.

So, NVIDIA® VR Funhouse has my seal of approval. If you have a Steam VR compatible headset, give it a try!

(Header image by NVIDIA®)

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