Step Into This World
I don't have much in the way of experience with VR games. My computer is certainly powerful enough to play them, but I just don't have the kind of money to drop on a proper setup right now. And heck, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it right. After spending just a few minutes with HOST at Play NYC 2019, I can confidently say that I never want to be eaten by a gigantic alien creature. I was pretty sure beforehand, but now I'm absolutely certain.
If you're unfamiliar with the medium, there are several different ways that VR is used. Many experiences are supplementary to existing games or more idle experiences; a racing game may let you look around by turning your head, but you stay firmly planted in your chair. Some VR games have you move through the world with the controller rather than tracking your motion, so you can comfortably sit or stand still for those, too.
There is, however, another class of VR game entirely, and that's "room-scale" VR. If you've ever seen those videos of someone moving around on the floor, that's exactly what it is. HOST is one such game that seeks to leverage something that is a growing subset of the virtual reality medium.
HOST is Altogether Alien
In HOST, you start the game by looking at a campfire. Things go suddenly dark, and you find yourself inside of a strange, purple room. It quickly dawns on you that the room is alive and that you've somehow ended up inside of a massive creature. HOST is all about making your escape.
I was quite anxious about playing this particular game. Play NYC had allocated a generous amount of space for the developer, but I'm a big guy. I had genuine concerns about collateral damage, and so I was quite careful about my movements. I shuffled along the floor slowly, holding the VR headset's tether in one hand to ensure that I didn't trip over it.
The gameplay of HOST is really quite simple. Look around, find a weird icky thing to poke, and poke it. I do, however, get a sense that there is more to the game than just this judging by the promotional material I've seen. I only got to check out the first chapter so far and it's going to be interesting to see how it develops in the long run.
[HOST] is true room-scale [VR] as opposed to locomotion where you can just like push a button." — Garrett Fuselier, developer of HOST
Developer Garrett Fuselier told me that he's making good progress on the next chapter of this Early Access title, although he can't quite say exactly when it will be finished. If you like interesting VR experiences, I think that HOST is something you should definitely be keeping an eye on.
You can keep up with the progress of HOST via the game's official website, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. You can buy an early version of the game on Steam, the Oculus Store, and Viveport at a price of $9.99 or your regional equivalent. Check out the gameplay trailer to below to get a feel for what HOST is all about!
What do you think of HOST? Are you interested in room-scale VR, or do you prefer more relaxed experiences in virtual reality? Let us know in the comments below! Check out what else we saw at Play NYC by going to our Play NYC 2019 Coverage Hub.