As far as we know, this is the first time a game has been sold while requiring the user to sideload it in order to play it. Previously, all other sold games were distributed on the Oculus Store exclusively. Notably, Jigsaw 360 was directly rejected for listing on Quest a few months ago (as were other titles as part of increased curation restrictions,) which is what prompted the decision to release it on itch.io instead.
In the game players put together and solve large 3D spherical jigsaw puzzles the likes of which could never exist in real life. There are standard flat jigsaws to solve as well. Using the 6DOF controllers of the Quest you can reach out and interact with the pieces individually. The game is already available on both Oculus Rift and Oculus Go.
We reached out to the developer, Brett Jackson from JumbliVR about the release, and he had the following statement to give:
“I understand that Oculus is aiming for titles of a certain, depth, quality and price point that will help grow a sustainable ecosystem for VR and selected developers and that despite positive reviews Jigsaw 360 doesn’t fit their curation policy. However, having designed the game with the Quest in mind from the start I was desperate to get it into the hands of Quest owners. With SideQuest now giving developers a channel to reach a limited audience and itch.io providing proven sales / community management tools I felt that I had what I needed to issue a release. While my reach is still very limited I’m thrilled to be able to get my game into the hands of Quest owners and hope that more developers follow my lead.”
According to Jackson, this isn’t just the PC version slapped onto a storefront, this was specifically optimized for the Quest as the intended platform. Once you visit the itch.io site and pay for the game, you’re presented with the following prompt:
“The download will provide an APK file that needs to be installed on your Oculus Quest. The recommended approach is to install via SideQuest. Once SideQuest is installed, simply click on “VR Games” and then drag and drop the APK file over the text in the top left corner.”
If you’re a fan of what the team behind The Expanse is doing with their SideQuest sideloading project, you can support their efforts via Patreon donations here. There is a free demo version of the game on SideQuest you can check out before buying the full version on itch.io for $1.99.