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Valve’s HTC Vive introduction game, The Lab, is a group of minigames available for free that give a good example of how HTC Vive works. It appears Valve thinks they can give a better example though, and has released an update for The Lab that adds more to some of the games.

The updated, titled Appliance of Science, mostly focuses on three of the minigames: Slingshot, Longbow, and Xortex. The biggest feature is the addition of a leaderboard to all three games, allowing you to have friendly competitions with friends and random people on the internet. Longbow has been updated to add infinite waves. Originally the game ended after the 8th wave, but now it will keep going until you lose. Every 8th wave the game will reset your barrels and oil, and give you a small break, and enemies will slowly get stronger and faster from there. You can also now load right into the Longbow minigame, avoiding other screens. Slingshot is only seeing some minor changes, with the points being rebalanced and explosions from barrels being made bigger.

Xortex is getting the most changes, one of the biggest being that it will be split into two modes: Xortex Classic and Xortex Infinite. Xortex Classic plays just like Xortex used to (albeit with the scoring system removed) with the player encountering bosses and the game having a definitive end. Xortex Infinite will be an endless score-attack with the bosses removed. The score system has also been reworked: picking up power-ups increases your score multiplier, while using a bomb sets it back to none. Speaking of bombs, those are also new and will be replacing the super laser. Both game modes will also get a new enemy called the Spinner who spins around shooting bullets both forwards and backwards. Finally, enemies now can recover health if they aren’t constantly attacked, but are also set to die automatically if left alive too long.

There are also some minor changes being made across all games. Subtitles are being added to the games with speaking parts, as well as a text translation for multiple languages. Similar to Longbow, both Robot Repair, and Secret Shop will have the ability to load directly into those minigames added. Finally, when you play with Fetchbot the controllers will now have haptic feedback.

The Lab can be downloaded on Steam for free and requires an HTC Vive to use.


Samuel Guglielmo

Staff Writer

I'm Sam. Been playing video games since PlayStation. Favorite games include Ace Combat 5, Perfect Dark, Final Fantasy IX, Metro 2033, and MonsterBag. Also loves books and can be found face first in one all the time.