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Global VR Challenge: The winners in the spotlight

The rising stars of VR games development
Global VR Challenge: The winners in the spotlight
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The winners of the 2016 Global VR Challenge have been revealed.

US developer Broken Window Studios beat out tough competition of more than 100 games to take the top spot with its narrative-driven game Reflections.

The top five, which includes games from the Chinese leg of the contenst, will now take a share from the $35,000 cash prize pool.

Two games that didn't quite make the top five were also given honourable mentions.

In the spotlight

To get you better acquainted with the winners and special mentions, we’ve compiled profiles of each game and studio for you so you can see exactly why these games made it to the final.

The Global VR Challenge was created by Steel Media, publisher of Pocket Gamer, in association with China’s leading VR company, DeePoon.

Please note that many of these games are still a work in progress.

#1: Reflections


Developer: Broken Window Studios
Where: USA
Platforms: PC
Genre: Simulator
Game Engine: Unity
Final Global VR Challenge position: 1st

The winning team at the 2016 Global VR Challenge, US-based developer Broken Window Studios is helmed by husband and wife duo Tristan Parrish Moore and Aby Bagulay Moore.

The two lead on writing, game design and environment art. The team also includes programmer Daniel Strayer and character artist Blair Armitage.

The studio worked on Reflections, a first-person narrative exploration game that has proven hugely popular with the competition’s judges.

Every action in the game has meaningful consequences that can radically shape the experience.

This "butterfly effect" is represented by the game's unique colour mechanic, which flushes the black and white world with colour based on each interaction, illustrating your progress and providing clues to what your future might hold.

In Reflections, you can explore life goals, relationships and the philosophical implications of choice in this very unique approach to branching narrative.


#2: Heroes of the Seven Seas

Heroes of the Seven Seas

Developer: Mirage Interactive (Youku)
Where: China
Platforms: PC
Genre: RPG
Final Global VR Challenge position: 2nd

The top placed Chinese team, Mirage Interactive, captured the imagination of judges with its entertaining pirate adventure Heroes of the Seven Seas.

The first-person RPG sends players on the hunt for the legendary Seven Seas Artefact. To find it, they must set sail across the water and engage in gun fights and ship-to-ship battles on the high seas on their way to finding treasure.

Players can upgrade their ship between battles and sail it to different islands where they can explore new locations for hidden riches.

#3: Bombu


Developer: Northeast Silver (Gamed9)
Where: China
Platforms: PC
Genre: Arcade
Game Engine: Unity
Final Global VR Challenge position: 3rd

Hailing from China and making it through the Chinese leg of the Global VR Challenge, Northeast Silver took third spot with their unqiue VR game Bombu.

Guns and bombs fall from the sky onto floating platforms, and players must rush to pick them up and throw them at their opponent. Throw enough bombs and players will destroy their adversary’s area and send them crashing to the ground.

Using room-scale technology and wireless controllers, players can interact with objects around them, and even catch objects thrown at them by opponents. Users can even combine items to send critical hits to the enemy.


#4: Space Box: The Journey out of the Box

Space Box: The Journey out of the Box

Developer: Tomasz Graczyk
Where: Poland
Platforms: Mobile
Genre: Puzzle/Platformer
Game Engine: OpenGL
Final Global VR Challenge position: 4th

Tomasz Graczyk, who took fourth spot with his mobile VR 3D puzzle platformer Space Box: The Journey out of the Box, hails from Poland.

The one-man team has been worked on the game for the last couple of years. He’s created an innovative new control scheme for simple movement in VR that proved a hit with judges.

The unique control system that requires the user to move their head to control the character and the world around them. Players must jump across platforms placed around each level to reach their goal.

Space Box: The Journey out of the Box features 28 levels for players to journey across, as well as extra bonus levels for skilled users.

The game can be played across a myriad of mobile VR devices, including even Google Cardboard.


#5: QUBE 2


Developer: Toxic Games
Where: UK
Platforms: PC
Genre: Puzzle / Platformer
Game Engine: Unreal Engine
Final Global VR Challenge position: 5th

UK studio Toxic Games already has a successful history with its first-person puzzle game QUBE.

Now with QUBE 2, the team is taking on virtual reality headsets for even more mind-bending puzzles that have left the judges confounded and entertained.

QUBE 2 tells the tale of a survivor who traverses an ever-changing QUBE world, that adapts not only to their actions, but also to their memories; their self.

The player is able to directly manipulate the environment in order to complete puzzles. This involves rotating entire rooms and placing coloured cubes in order to navigate and complete levels.

There are only two inputs that allow the player to control the environment, but because the environment is constantly changing, this opens up many new gameplay possibilities and new mechanics.

#6: SwingStar


Developer: Computer Lunch
Where: USA
Platforms: Mobile / PC
Genre: Simulator
Game Engine: Unity
Final Global VR Challenge position: Honourable mention

Rope-swinging simulation game SwingStar was developed by US-based developer Computer Lunch.

The concept’s fun and simplicity has won over the judges of the competition to prove it worth of an honourable mention.

SwingStar lets players soar through its colourful, low-polygon worlds as they swing from floating objects. Using a giant spring hand from their helmet, players attach themselves to objects by looking at them.

Players must successfully swing from object to object without falling to reach the resonator bell, which will warp them to the next level.


#7: S.P.Y. Robot

S.P.Y. Robot

Developer: CEO's Pet Software
Where: Germany
Platforms: Mobile / PC
Genre: Puzzle
Game Engine: Unity
Final Global VR Challenge position: Honourable mention

S.P.Y. Robot was created by German development team CEO’s Pet Software.

Players pilot an unarmed robot S.P.Y. (Synthetical Private eYe), designed for private investigations through the protagonist’s company's test chambers for final QA. In each level, players have to hack a mainframe inside a green target zone.

Specific hack skills can be downloaded to solve puzzles and harness the abilities of enemy robots. Current hacking skills include an explode sequence, video stream, target marker, shutdown systems, boot systems and faction switch.

More hacking skills are promised to come as development progresses, with tutorials and an experimental procedural level generator in the works.