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Smash Hit Review

Smash Hit Review

Smash Hit

8-5 Stars

Gear VR Icon

Smash Hit was instantly one of my favorite Gear VR games! It is a cross-over app from a non-VR version of the same name, and the VR version is better. It is a simple gaze shooting game where you throw metal balls at different shaped glass objects that appear in your path. Although the game is simple, it shines in the elegance of the world you become immersed in along with the trance inducing soundtrack.

 

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The game starts with the user hovering above a myriad of tall thin rectangular structures resembling a city of abstract skyscrapers. You progress over the structures in a straight line at a constant speed while obstacles made of glass appear in your way. You must shoot the them with metal balls to break the glass before crossing through it. You have a limited number of metal balls that can be replenished by hitting triangle or star-shaped glass statues that appear while passing through the level. If you go through any glass object without breaking it first, you will lose some of your metal balls. The goal is to progress past your furthest distance before losing all of your metal balls.

 

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The games transitions well into VR because of the environment it transports you to. You become immersed in a world filled of bright colored glass. Although your speed and direction are constant, you are free to look all around the beautiful world as you travel. The graphics make the glass very realistic. It is realistic enough to add to the stunning visualizations while also causing you duck, blink, or flinch each time your face breaks through glass. The music is nicely done and adds to the world it transports you to. It is slightly energizing while also putting you into a trance. If an action game and a meditative experience had a child, it would be Smash Hit.

 

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The constant speed and direction also make it so this not a jarring experience. There are no twists and turns working against your stomach. There are a few times in later levels where the world spins in front of you, and that can be disorienting. It also only lasts for a short time. Some people will enjoy it and others will not. But, besides that, this is one of the most comfortable experiences I have had while moving in a VR game. I highly recommend trying Smash Hit and it definitely has replay value as a start it and play game.

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How Will the Virtual Reality Industry Evolve?

How Will the Virtual Reality Industry Evolve?

FutureGearVR

February 24th, 2016

“The VR Opportunity” was a forum at the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona centered on how Virtual Reality will evolve in the marketplace. This is a topic I like to discuss, and I am in the camp that feels gaming will lead the early adoption phase but within just a few years the market will consist mostly of interactive non-gaming entertainment “experiences”. A report by iDigitalTimes revealed that current industry experts are unsurprisingly divided on how they expect the industry to evolve.

 

One executive at the forum felt that gaming companies are in the best position to leverage their brands and gaming is what will grow VR while anther executive stated cinematic entertainment is what will mostly drive industry expansion.  Many mobile companies see cell phones playing a large role in VR adoption while the CEO of Avegant states the future of VR is in retinal displays that shoot light directly onto a person’s retina.

 

My personal opinion is that gaming will drive the industry at first. This is because gamers are the consumer base willing to pay the high prices for early tech adoption. And, right now, it is still too expensive for the casual consumer to invest in such a novelty item. Additionally, many in the gaming community will already have some of the necessary parts needed to invest in VR experiences such as the faster GPUs and processors required. Even if they were to upgrade, it can be rationalized as an upgrade they would eventually be doing anyway.

 

Phones will help the casual consumer get into VR because of the smaller barrier to entry. The Gear VR is very impressive and it’s pretty cheap if you already have the required Samsung Galaxy or Note phone. You do not need to purchase any more processing power than the phone, and the VR headset is only $99. You can also use the Gear VR without wires and without a messy set up, adding to the ease of use for a casual VR user.

 

However, as the adoption grows, it will be all of the other non-gaming VR experiences that capture the attention of the casual user. This will include, the movies, shows, social experiences, music videos, simulations, meditative experiences, etc. In my opinion, the VR experience by itself has such a wow factor right now when you initially use it that you do not need the experience to be too intense. In fact, you probably do not even want the experience to be too intense because it will be jarring. You need the movement to be slower, you need less to focus on, you need less to do. You still want the VR experience to be interactive but this means that most VR experiences are better when they require more passivity. This allows the user to focus more on enjoying the experience through exploring the new world they are surrounded by. This is where I see the future of mass VR adoption.

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Add Hulu to the list of companies getting bullish on Virtual Reality. Ben Smith, Hulu’s Head of Experience recently told Variety they are “spending a lot of time on virtual reality.” The company has been working on an app for the Gear VR that was originally slated for last fall. It is now expected to be ready by this Spring. The app is reported to have different virtual environments to transport to where you can enjoy regular Hulu content. In addition to their normal 2-D offerings, the company is also working on VR content, including a short film titled “The Big One.”

 

Some of the delay in offering the app seems to come from the time they are investing in making sure the content is something people will want to use on a regular basis. Smith stated they are looking to see what works and what doesn’t work in attempts to create something people will want to do every day. Personally, I like this perspective as there are several VR experiences that are incredibly impressive as a first time experience but do not really have a lot of value in repeated experiences. At this point, you still see a lot of VR users seeking out new content after new content as explorers while the apps they like to use on a regular basis are still few and far between. This puts Hulu in a desirable category of content creators looking for quality instead of being another company testing the VR waters out of novelty.

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