One of the most engaging aspects of virtual reality is its ability to appeal to our most basic emotions. Some games do this by showing off immense scale, or putting a character so close you can almost feel them. Crytek’s The Climb, on the other hand, relies on the nearly universal fear of heights, and it’s now available for you to try on the Oculus Store.
The Climb takes VR gamers to the tallest rock outcroppings and toughest climbing passes, all created in the gorgeous Crytek engine. More than just making it up the side of the mountain, gamers can face off against the ghosts of their friends, take on unique challenges, or just explore the 3D landscapes in the simplified tourist mode.
While a rock climbing game with an Xbox controller might not sound totally mind-blowing at first, Crytek’s effort shows off some impressive changes to its UI and control scheme that other developers are likely to follow in other titles. Rather than an HUD, virtual hands sweat, and the chalk wears away, with a watch conveying relevant information that’s not otherwise shown.
The shoulder buttons control the grip, which makes for an interesting cognitive consonance. Squeezing the trigger squeezes the rock, and before long you’re clutching the controller for dear life. Using your head to aim your next grab also means there’s a simplicity to the controls, which lets you focus on your route and your grip.
More importantly, The Climb marks Crytek’s first full-blown VR game, ascending from the tech demos and short films that helped the Crysis and Ryse: Son of Rome developer move into the new medium. It’s certainly an ambitious first offering, and one that gamers will really be able to sink their teeth, and hands, into.
If you’re ready to take on the mountain, Crytek’s The Climb is available now in the Oculus Store for $50, but you’ll need a Rift to play it. The game will add support for the Oculus Touch controllers down the road as part of a free update.