These Meta Quest 2 passthrough experiences blend the real world with the digital.
Passthrough uses the Quest’s external cameras to provide real-time visualization of the physical world. Last year, Meta made their Passthrough API available to developers who have used it to create a range of different apps that blend virtual objects with your real-world surroundings.
There are a few games in the official Quest Store like Cubism, Gadgeteer, and Blaston that feature a passthrough mode. Whilst it can be fun to experience these games using the passthrough option, it’s included as an added extra that’s non-essential to the game.
In this article, we will only be looking at those games and apps where passthrough is essential to the core gameplay. The experiences in this list have all been designed specifically to be used with the Quest’s passthrough feature.
Because dedicated passthrough experiences are quite new and experimental, the games and apps featured on this list are available from SideQuest and App Lab.
The World Beyond
Whilst this experience is only a short, five-minute tech demo developed by Meta to showcase the potential of their Presence Platform, it offers the perfect introduction to passthrough and mixed reality on the Quest.
The demo starts with a brief setup process that requires you to virtually map the walls and furniture in your surroundings. You’re then given a mechanical device to help you locate a little alien creature called Oppy and the energy orbs that she eats, which you’ll find hidden around your play space.
Oppy responds to some voice commands and will react to being petted with your hands. She will also respond in clever ways to the environment by navigating around any mapped furniture or obstacles in her way.
However, the real magic begins when you use the device to transform your walls into portals to another dimension. Seeing Oppy happily jump between worlds as she chases the energy orbs you launch through the portals provides a wonderfully trippy experience that will give you a taste of mixed reality’s potential.
Create a dungeon in your very own living room, complete with devious traps, monsters, and basic quest objectives. Dungeon creation works through a simple drag-and-drop system, with an added feature that allows you to link multiple dungeons together to create a series of stages.
Once your dungeon is complete, challenge yourself or a friend to navigate the treacherous gauntlet. It’s a uniquely fun experience, walking around your house and ducking to avoid the razor-sharp blade swinging from your ceiling or edging past the deadly spike pit which was once the living room rug.
Whilst the number of items, enemies, and quests to choose from is currently very limited, there’s still plenty here to whet your appetite.
Why pay hundreds in piano tuition when you can learn for free with PianoVision? This app combines passthrough and hand tracking to deliver a fun, flexible learning experience.
PianoVision works best with a MIDI keyboard but there is also an Air Piano mode that allows you to play on any flat surface, with no piano required. Start by either connecting your Quest directly to your MIDI keyboard via a cable or through WiFi using a PC and the Desktop App.
Once you select a song, the app overlays colored bars onto your keyboard to highlight the keys you need to play, exactly when you need to play them, to belt out the selected tune. It even has a hand-tracking feature that will identify which finger you should be used to press each key.
If you make a mistake, miss a note, or stop playing, the app allows you to catch up by pausing the program until you play the next correct note. PianoVision also includes sheet music, lessons, virtual environments, and the option to upload your own custom songs.
Custom Home Mapper
Turn your home into one giant mixed reality playground with Custom Home Mapper. Begin by virtually mapping the walls and furniture of your playspace, which can range in size from a single room to an entire floor.
Then select from one of twelve mini-games. Each game automatically transforms your walls and furniture into virtual obstacles, texturing them in a way that matches the game being played. For example, there’s a golf game that textures the floor grass green and converts your furniture into barriers like brick walls and plants.
Other mini-games include a shooter similar to SUPERHOT and a passthrough version of Snake. The games on offer are good for a quick bit of fun and do a great job of showcasing the variety of innovative ways passthrough can be used.
Hauntify Mixed Reality
Bring your nightmares to life by getting evil spirits to chase you around your own home! Hauntify allows you to turn a space of up to 500 by 500 meters into a mixed reality horror experience. It will even let you mark out and play over multiple floors, but caution should be exercised if using passthrough whilst taking stairs.
Once set up, the passthrough visuals dim, making it hard to see your real-life surroundings and forcing you to navigate your house using the virtual torch provided. It’s then your job to collect the relics that randomly spawn around your home in an effort to expel the roaming spirits.
The spirits themselves are equipped with fully dynamic AI to help them navigate your house and hunt you down. Whilst some spirits are more dangerous than others, they are all equally terrifying. The grainy black and white visuals of the Quest passthrough are typically a drawback, but it actually works well with this game by enhancing the grim and forbidding atmosphere.
If you have a friend with a Quest and are looking for something fun to play together, why not invite them over for a passthrough duel with Saber City? Duelers need to be located in the same space before they can battle it out using a selection of ranged and melee weapons.
Players can see each other using passthrough, and are equipped with a virtual weapon, shield, and helmet. Dueling is a simple affair of using ranged and melee attacks to take out the physical opponent opposite. Just make sure you don’t get too close to each other in the heat of battle otherwise you’ll end up taking real-life damage.
The Future of Passthrough
It’s still early days for passthrough and mixed reality, with a lot more to come. For example, it was only recently announced that Schell games will be releasing the short mixed reality experience I Expect You To Die: Home Sweet Home this October 25th for Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro platforms.
Resolution Games have also been working on an update for their fantasy VR board game, Demeo. The update, which you can see here, will use passthrough to allow players to place the virtual board on a real-world surface. According to the trailer, items like the virtual dice will interact with your home environment by being able to fall off furniture and bounce off surfaces.
The number and quality of these passthrough experiences are only set to grow, especially with the coming release of the Meta Quest Pro which features full-color mixed reality capabilities.
Image Credit: Field Of Vision