I've been playing close attention to the VR market since the Spring of 2016 when the first Rift and Vive headsets started arriving to end users. In all this time, I'm not sure I've seen a month so jam-packed with interesting VR games. In this article, I'm going to specifically stick to games that actually have a locked in release date, but there are even more games I could bring up that could launch this month as well. Why would a summer month like July be such a hot time for VR releases? I think a big reason why, is many of these games were delayed from their original target dates, and they are just randomly arriving in the same time frame.
Certainly the biggest game on the docket has to be Lone Echo on July 20th. This is of course the Oculus exclusive coming from high-profile developer Ready at Dawn. The last big Ready at Dawn game to release was The Order 1886 for PlayStation 4. The Order was a bit of a mixed-bag, in regards to it's critical and commercial success. This was the studios first really big game of that kind of magnitude, after mostly working on portable games for the Sony PSP. Some might say it was the studios first "big boy game". Well, if the Echo Arena beta is anything to go by, at the very least, the method of locomotion for the game has been locked in, and users will be very pleased with how smooth and effortless it is. Both Lone Echo and Echo Arena will be arriving on July 20th, and Oculus gamers are chomping at the bit to get after both of those.
Super HOT is a huge July release for the PlayStation VR. Oculus Rift gamers have had the title for what seems like forever, and the HTC Vive crowd finally got a taste with it's arrival about a month ago. Now, PSVR gamers can get in on the act. Super HOT will be arriving on July 17th in Europe and July 19th in the USA. The nice thing about Super HOT on PSVR, is the fact that the simplistic art style, should lend itself well to PlayStation VR from a technical standpoint. I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the core essence of the game is left completely in-tact. There is always an extra concern with PC based games that are later translated to PlayStation VR.
Speaking of translations, Fantastic Contraption is heading to the PSVR in July as well. The game is coming in just a couple of days on the 11th of this month.
The HTC Vive has some big games headed it's way in the month of July as well. The Wizards by Carbon Studio is another highly anticipated title that will be arriving later this month on the 28th. Carbon Studio of course released Alice VR last year, and this is their followup game. While the graphics look pretty intense, we'll have to see if the spellcasting gameplay works as well as we hope it does. Alice VR didn't exactly win Game of the Year honors, so Carbon Studio could put a better foot forward with an impressive showing of The Wizards.
There are a number of lesser known games that are coming in July hoping to make a name for themselves. One of the more interesting options is Just in Time Incorporated by Second Wind Interactive. This game is set to arrive on the 27th of this month. Just in Time features a cartoonish, Minecraftian inspired art style that uses very simple looking textures to great effect. You take on the role of an accidental death insurance agent. You have to follow around the bumbling citizens that seem to always put themselves in danger's path. You can manipulate time, allowing you to save the pour souls from their untimely demise.
Another game with a more whimsical and colorful approach is Tiny Trax by FuturLab for PlayStation VR. When I first heard about Tiny Trax, I didn't really think all that much of it. Ok, so it's another racing game in VR, big deal. However, once you see screenshots and video of this game, you'll be hard pressed not to want to see it inside a PlayStation VR headset in it's full glory. The idea of having racing tracks wrap all around your physical body, while you race these little cars around insane and impossible (in real life) courses is absolutely brilliant. Seeing small detailed objects moving around inches away from you in VR is surprisingly powerful. Rift owners that have played a lot of Blaze Rush know exactly what I'm talking about.
Lastly, I wanted to mention one last VR game of July 2017 that could hold some promise. FMG Labs and NASA have collaborated on MARS 2030, which is a vr experience / game that is arriving in just a couple of days. On July 11th, MARS 2030 will arrive for both the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive (PSVR version will follow later). Now, I know what you're thinking. We need a new Mars VR experience like we need a hole in our heads. Also, have any of the existing Mars VR experiences been worth our time? We've seen so many Mars related VR experiences, and most of them leave us feeling unfulfilled. Should we really expect FMG Labs to bring us some magical journey to Mars that absolutely blows us away? Probably not, but of all the various Mars VR experiences that have come along, this one appears to be the most full featured. Of course, we only have a couple of days until this $15 experience goes live, and I'm sure the second it's available, we'll get plenty of opinions hitting the various message boards telling us if it's worth picking up.
Whatever the case may be, I can definitely say that the month of July is pretty darn action packed. I didn't even mention a handful of other games that could easily arrive this month as well. I guess we just need to pump our air-conditioners to the max, and enjoy Christmas in July!