Echo Arena is finally in our hands after two open beta tests and a long wait. If you weren't lucky enough to give it a go during the betas or if you're just in need of a helping hand to get you on your way to victory, we've put together a list of tips and tricks that should help move you from beginner to pro in no time at all.
Echo Arena is not a gentle sport. You have fists, so why not use them? By making a fist around your Touch controller, you'll also make a fist in the game. When you punch an opposing player in the head, it will temporarily disable them. This can be done back at you, but you can block by making a fist with both hands and holding them up to your head.
If you successfully block an incoming punch, the other player who threw the punch will be temporarily disabled. Don't forget that you can hold onto other players as they fly around the arena. If you have someone on your back, give them a punch or try blocking one of their punches to get rid of them.
Go where the disk is going, not where it is right now
The disk doesn't act like a regular ball in a regular game. There are a bunch of angled surfaces that it can bounce off of, so the first real step is to get used to how it reacts to collisions and throws.
Once you have an idea of where the disk is going to go when it hits something, try to always head toward where the disk is going to be, not where it is right now. We've seen plenty of games where players are chasing the disk around, grappling with each other to no effect. Try to be the person who's out ahead, and you'll find yourself setting up plays and scoring goals way more often.
Communicate openly with your team
Your Rift has a built-in microphone that works really well. Know what else works really well? Telling your team what your plan is, or letting them know that you're willing to try out their plan.
This is first and foremost a team sport. If your team isn't communicating while the other team is, you're almost guaranteed to be handed a loss.
Because of the frenetic action in the arena, it's easy to get disoriented or to lose track of the disk. Calling out its location or the trajectory of opposing players can go a long way for a teammate who's just coming back online after getting punched out.
Warm up in the practice room
This is a very physical game and it can be disorienting when things heat up, so you don't want to throw a piston when you're just about to score a goal.
Before heading into a real game, visit the practice room to warm up. This is good for your muscles, your reflexes, and you might just run into a couple of people you know who want to get a game going.
Even better, take five minutes to do some stretches before putting on the Rift. This isn't your regular video game, and, although I'd also like to just lay on the couch and veg, you're going to be moving every part you can whether you like it or not.
You don't have to time your grabs
When approaching a floating object or player or disk, you don't have to make a grabbing motion as your hand hits it. Can't figure out why everyone else is always beating you for possession? They're holding down the grab button as they approach!
As soon as you see a target, pretend like you're already holding onto it. As soon as your virtual hand touches an object, it will automatically grab on. No timing, no mess, more possession for you.
Take advantage of the catapult
This one isn't immediately obvious when you start playing, and it took me awhile to figure out what I was doing wrong.
When time starts counting down, head into one of the catapult tubes. You'll arrive at a spot that says "Wait" while the timer is still counting, and you'll see a ring of handles with hand signs painted on them.
Grab one of these handles with one hand, and place your other hand in the circle. It will eventually change to "Launch" when the countdown is complete, and, as long as you're still holding on, you'll be launched out of the tube into the arena.
Clear a lot of space — seriously
Not everyone will be playing with a room-scale setup, and that's OK. The game works pretty well with only two sensors. If you are going with a room-scale setup, you're going to want to move things out of the way. Not like the usual move-things-out-of-the-way routine when you play VR. This game has the ability to completely distract you from real life, and you will punch things around you.
Even after I shrunk my Guardian system's boundaries a couple of times, I was still so focused on the game that I blew right through the virtual walls on multiple occasions. Luckily I'd moved most valuables out of the way (including turning my PC monitor around to face the wall), otherwise, I'd probably be out buying a new one.
If you're going with a room-scale setup for Echo Arena, clear more space than you think you'll need.
Grab Echo Arena now!
Don't yet have Echo Arena? It's totally free! Grab it now from the Oculus Store.