Strictly speaking, they’re table knights and you’re the one on the couch, but Epic Games’ example of just what you can do with a simple idea and some not-so-simple VR hardware is a family-friendly delight.
In Couch Knights, you take control of a miniature knight of the room, with sword and shield as it rampages around a realistically rendered lounge, chasing down your friend/foe across table tops, around sofas and even your friend’s lap.
It’s pretty basic as virtual environments go, but in that lies some of the most immersive aspects of VR-gaming, where you are presented a truly believable environment but with magical properties; the presence of a couple of foot-high medieval warriors. Their antics are amusing and the game is undoubtably fun. If Epic decide to make this into a full-featured mini-game for showcasing the powers of their latest Unreal Engine (version 4) then we expect this to be an instant classic, due to its ease of access and persistent charm.
You and a friend take up positions on the adjacent [titular] couches and though you body doesn’t move, the head-tracking will re-orient your virtar’s head to follow your gaze: this is quite interesting as your opponent could distract you with it if they are cunning enough. You have sword, shield and, of course, fireballs as the tools of any self-respecting knight’s trade. Unleashing firey death takes a moment to charge, which makes for a good balance between the ranged weapon and melée combat with the sword. You score points for each take-down (requiring several hits) and there’s a scoreboard at the back of the room for keeping track of your valiant efforts.
It’s not certain if Couch Knights is going to see a retail release, but as one of the more popular demos for the Oculus/Unreal coupling we’re hoping they refine it even further so we have a great ‘who’s making the tea next?’ mini-game.