‘Hand Physics Lab’ Review – Putting the Fun in Frustration – Road to VR

Hand Physics Lab is all about hand-tracking, and this over 80-level recreation goals to throw you head first right into a whimsical sequence of seemingly easy duties. Quest can provide blended outcomes in terms of hand-tracking constancy although, so in case you’re not cautious, it may be extraordinarily irritating for all of the flawed causes.

Hand Physics Lab Particulars:

Obtainable On: Oculus Quest
Launch Date: April 1st, 2021
Value: $10
Developer: Dennys Kuhnert – Holonautic
Reviewed On: Quest 2

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-w7omxJuOk?feature=oembed&w=640&h=360]


Messing round with hand-tracking is admittedly enjoyable the primary couple instances you strive it, and seeing my twiddling fingers represented in VR actually served up a few of the first ‘wow’ moments for me. Regardless of the promise of controller-less interactions, hand-tracking on Quest hasn’t been adopted by recreation builders throughout the board for a couple of causes, a significant one being that it gives decrease constancy enter compared to Contact.

Observe: In case you haven’t given hand-tracking a spin on both Quest headset, you simply want common indoor lighting for optimum outcomes. I discovered closing my shades and turning on all my inside lights offered enough monitoring. Nonetheless, it’s not unusual to see your digital fingers fully wig out, or not monitor your entire fingers accurately—it simply doesn’t characteristic the rock-solid monitoring and button inputs of Contact.

As a result of Hand Physics Lab has virtualized your fingers into physics-based objects, it’s much less about instantly interacting with objects and extra about fastidiously miming actions and piloting a pair of decidedly a lot much less succesful limbs. It feels a bit like enjoying Surgeon Simulator at instances, besides the constancy of enter is continually altering. It’s onerous to foretell when hand-tracking will fail and that lightbulb you tried to screw in for the previous 5 minutes will get launched into the stratosphere.

Hand-tracking funkiness is an Oculus downside, however Hand Physics Lab appears to be leaning into it with blended outcomes. Even in the perfect case, that is the extent of jitter you need to count on. Keep watch over the left hand because the fingers and complete hand pulse. Within the worst case, your hand received’t work. Like in any respect.

Okay, so possibly it’s comically tough by design as a result of the hand-tracking management scheme isn’t exact. Hand Physics Lab additionally gives Contact controls, however that feels a bit like dishonest as a result of it lowers the ability ceiling so low that it’s probably not even price enjoying at that time. The creator assumes you’ll wish to play with hand-tracking, so I did.

And like Surgeon Simulator, it positively ends in some madcap issues like getting your digital arm caught in a tube whereas your bodily hand strikes by way of house unimpeded. When it’s working properly sufficient it may be actually enjoyable, however while you’re undecided why hand-tracking is failing and it simply does, enjoying the sport can really feel like attempting to punch somebody in your goals. Completely ineffectual for no discernible motive.

'Hand Physics Lab' Overview – Placing the Enjoyable in Frustration – Highway to VR 5Picture courtesy Dennys Kuhnert, Holonautic

In Hand Physics Lab you run by way of about 80 duties, most of that are common issues even chimps are anticipated to have the ability to do: Press these buttons. Type these coloured blocks. Stack these coloured blocks. Paint these eggs totally different colours. And though just some that may be thought of puzzles as such, there are a couple of actually attention-grabbing duties within the bunch that take some persistence and a focus to perform, like having to grab goal blocks out of a tumble dryer, or utilizing a type of grip-based telepathy to information blocks by way of a sequence of tubes.

After finishing the ultimate sequential job, I used to be just about achieved with Hand Physics Lab although. Its extra of a unusual, brilliant smorgasbord of tech demo stuff than a full-featured recreation as such. I say that full-well realizing that there’s truly a good bit of content material right here; you play sequential ranges to earn stars so as to unlock sandbox actions.

Placing hand funkiness apart, I needed provided greater and higher puzzles. There was a glimmer of some actually attention-grabbing duties that very briefly ramped as much as actual puzzle territory, and I’d have beloved to see these teased out extra.


Susceptible to repeating myself, I’ll put it this fashion: hand-tracking funkiness actually inhibits the promise of this recreation. If hand-tracking on Quest have been hypothetically rock strong, and this recreation deliberately made it tremble and wig out for comedic impact, you would possibly appraise it in another way.

Anyway, I sometimes would mess around 10 minutes at a time, however after enjoying for an hour straight, I acquired extraordinarily pissed off with the sport (learn: I rage give up I tactically regrouped) and I needed to write down my fast impressions:

I really feel like I’ve a losing illness penning this. I simply performed Hand Physics Lab for an hour straight, and now my fingers really feel like weak meat puppets.

I’m having to pay attention very onerous to coordinate my fingers to sort this accurately, and my arms really feel additional heavy and ineffective.

The sport had screwed with my proprioception, or the sense that you realize the place your limbs are at any given time with out taking a look at them. Extra precisely, I used to be truly experiencing a ‘physique switch phantasm’, which will be replicated by hiding an individual’s hand from sight and changing it with a pretend one. Stroking each the pretend hand and the topic’s actual hand with a feather truly creates one thing referred to as ‘proprioceptive drift’, which basically makes the particular person really feel just like the rubber hand is their precise hand.

As a result of I used to be so intently watching my virtualized fingers the complete time, which don’t transfer completely in live performance with my bodily fingers, I had truly internalized that my fingers had change into much less efficient at fantastic coordination duties like typing or selecting issues up afterwards once I left the headset. Revisiting the sport for shorter intervals made this much less obvious, nevertheless it’s protected to say I received’t be enjoying for prolonged classes anytime quickly. I took a break after that, and my arms ultimately felt regular once more, which was a reduction.

Smaller bites and slower, extra intentional motion can reduce this, however simply don’t go in anticipating to work together usually.


Hand Physics Lab will be performed seated, standing, and permits for a variable quantity house. Apart from the intensely bizarre physique phantasm stuff, it ranks among the many most snug VR experiences since all locomotion is bodily and never synthetic equivalent to clean turning, snap-turning, or teleporting.

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