Review – Wayward Sky – Robots and Puzzles and Chickens, OH MY!

Review – Wayward Sky – Robots and Puzzles and Chickens, OH MY!

So I just wrapped up Wayward Sky and have to say that these type of games are hands down my favorite in VR.

Games that offer a hybrid of both 3rd person diorama with some first person elements.

For years now I believed that VR was only going to offer decent first person experiences, and little would be gained by other traditional genres like platformers or puzzle games.

I will be the first to admit how wrong I was.

When I first fired up Lucky’s Tale on the Rift many months ago I was enthralled. Watching your  character bound around in a miniature world was something really amazing. Seeing this tiny fox jump from platform to platform right at the tip of your nose was unlike anything I expected to see in VR.

Sadly, Lucky’s Tale was alone, with no other games offering a similar experience, that is, until now.

Wayward Sky is best described as a puzzle platformer, where you must navigate the floating city with either Move controls or traditional game pad. You point to a place on the map, and your little character Beth trots along to the destination.

When you point and click on a glowing object, you will enter a first person mode that will allow you to say flip switches, or turn dials until you complete the puzzle at hand and open a gate or door.

The mechanic is simple and the game poses very little challenge, but does benefit greatly from VR, what would have been a mediocre romp around a floating city with a pretty paper thin story, becomes so much more when you feel like you have a God like view of the realm.

And at the core of VR, that seems to be the big sell. There have been very few games out there that would not have been commercially panned had they not been in VR. The coolness factor can take a normal game with a score of 5 and turn it magically into a 7 or 8 with the VR googles on. Much like too much booze and an unattractive mate, hahaha.

All in all Wayward Sky clocks in at about 4 – 5 hours long if you are aiming to get 100% completion.

There is no coveted platinum trophy here though, just bronze, silver and one gold.

If you are perceptive you can likely hit 100% in a single run, but may need to double back to collect a couple hidden canisters that unlock robots for the arcade mini game.

All things considered, Wayward Sky does what it sets out to do. It chose to be a fun and simple little puzzler and it hit that mark dead on.

If you go in with that in mind, and do not have high expectation for this to be the next Portal, then you will find a decent gem in the sea of throw away VR games.

Another thing to note, this game is very new VR user friendly, there is no sudden camera movement, it is 100% static, so there is very little chance you will get VR sickness.

A solid 7/10 and highly recommended for those who like games like Lucky’s Tale.


Review – Thumper VR – Speed demons, apply within!

Review – Thumper VR – Speed demons, apply within!

So when PSVR was a few week away from release, I came upon a weird little game that I had absolutely no interest in called Thumper.

I saw a few vids, and quite frankly had zero interest in it, as it really looked rather boring. Nothing more than a simple rhythm game with no real skill involved and not really imaginative.

Well I could not have been any more wrong.

After seeing a few decent reviews from other gaming sites, and high praise on Reddit, I decided to give it a shot despite my early assessment and I am very glad I did.

Now many have claimed that Thumper really didn’t need the VR component tacked on, as the game does function as a stand alone title without VR at all. But VR makes it infinitely  more enjoyable.

And true, while not necessary, it adds a speed and polish to what could have been just a mediocre indie game in a sea of AAA fall titles.

The core of Thumper is indeed a rhythm game, but it is so much more. The mechanics are simple, your space beetle for lack of a better term is rocketing down a narrow channel, and as you pass over blue or green lit squares, you press the X button, when you come to turns, you push X and pull the stick in the opposite direction, on rare occasion, you press up and the X button to fly over an obstacle.

That pretty much sums up the entirety of the games controls, told ya, very simple.

Somehow though the guys at Drool manage to turn this into a nightmare that is easy to pop into, but incredibly hard to master.

The game spans a total of 9 levels, and if you use the trophy system to judge, very few folks have hit level 9 and finished the game, with a whopping 1.4% finishing level 9 right now.

After level 6 the game switches into what I affectionately call bastard mode. Where they take the simple mechanics you have learned and throw every trick in the game at you, getting faster and faster as each level passes.

You are going to need nerves of steel and lightening fast reaction time to see this one through to the end, drop your focus for a second and you are done.

The most impressive aspect here though in the VR iteration is the sense of speed you get. If you took F-Zero and amped it up a few hundred KMs an hour, you would have Thumper.

With that said, I found it to be incredible easy on the old brain to pop in and out of Thumper, it is definitely low on the vomit scale, which is rather surprising considering just how fast you feel like you are going.

Maybe it is the 3rd person perspective that eases things a bit, or maybe that your eyes and focus are never really off of the dead center of the screen, there simply is no time for sight seeing here as you get no more than a 10 second reprieve from the action between the sub levels that make up the 9 chapters.

Each of the 9 chapters has anywhere from 14 – 30 sub level. Each ranging from 30 seconds long to 3-4 minutes.

Over all the game clocked in around the 4 – 5 hour mark and will vary by your skill and adaptability to the later harder levels. Some folks may not even see the end as the last 4 sub level in chapter 9 are controller throwing frustrating.

Once you complete each sub level and chapter you are ranked by score, all accumulated from hitting your blue spots without missing, and taking no damage per level. Anywhere from F to S ranks are your grade depending on how well you did.

Replay here is for score only, whereby there are 9 additional trophies and a coveted platinum trophy for those who S rank every level, by no means an easy feat, and in my eyes, worthy of high praise if you have this Plat in your pocket.

All in all Thumper has been my most entertaining VR title yet, and I found myself continually drawn back to it each day since the PSVR launched.

I highly recommend this game to anyone looking for a challenge, or to those of you that love the sense of speed.

A solid 10/10


Review – Batman Arkham VR – I am BATMAN!!!!!!

So today I bring to you our first PSVR review. There will be more coming this week as I play through a pile of PSVR games. But thus far, Batman Arkham VR is the first game I have completed on the PSVR, and man was it a treat!

This was Rocksteady’s first foray into the the world of VR, but not their first Batman outing, with a few games in the Arkham series under their belt, they can safely be called the definitive authority on Batman games at the moment, and it really shows here.

Moving away from the traditional style they created, whereby Batman was more of an action game, Arkham VR sheds its action roots and goes into full on detective mode.

Now some may say that BAVR is no more than a glorified tech demo, and that cannot be further from the truth.

Sure the main game clocks in at about 2 hours, but to achieve full 100% completion will take you closer to 4-5 hours. Now that may seem short to some, when you compare it to games like Uncharted 1 or Heavenly Sword, the value here is way higher considering the price tag is only 29.99 cdn (or 24.99 with Amazon Prime 20% discount. In my eyes that  is a heck of a deal for what you get.

The game itself spans 10 “levels” that will take you from the fateful night that a young Bruce Wayne watched his parents die, to a bizarre twist ending that kinda leaves you wondering.

The game takes place after the events of Arkham City, but before Arkham Knight. It is meant as a bit of a back story to events that unfold in the later game.

The game has zero combat in it, and it instead focuses on environmental puzzles that work very well in the VR interface.

In one particular scene you will rewind and playback a murder scene to piece together events of the crime. You will scan for clues, read hidden text from the Riddler, and hang out in the Batcave with your favorite manservant Alfred.

Once the core story is complete, you will unlock the riddler puzzles, where in each level there is hidden 3+ Riddle item, be it a puzzle cube, or hidden text that will lead you to an item to scan, or the classic riddler ? that will need to be uncovered and viewed at the right angle.

Now by no means is BA VR a hard game, it is all about the experience, and there is no method of failing at all, no game over screen to be found. But that is not to say it is not fun.

My one and only gripe is with the vehicle mechanic. When going between areas your screen goes black, and you can hear yourself get into the Batwing or Batmobile and fly or drive off, only to magically be teleported to the start of the next area.

I think Rosksteady really missed the boat here by not allowing you to be seated in the cockpit of the iconic Bat Vehicles looking around the cockpit while the game autopilots to the next area.

This would have made the experience infinitely cooler than it was.

You can view your vehicle arsenal (which unlocks as you solve Riddles) and do a full 360 x 360 rotation of your vehicle to check it out up close. This does a fantastic job of giving you a sense of scale we have never had before. Looking over the Tumbler and seeing just how massive the tires are is a sight to behold even if you aren’t a Batman fan.

The second main unlockable is the character profiles. These go beyond the traditional 2s flat images of the characters and give you a life size 3d character that you can rotate and pose (via 3 cassettes), getting to see Joke or Killer Croc up close and personal is pretty damn cool. Not to mention the very well modeled Harley Quinn.

All in all this was an amazing game, definitely recommended to anyone who picked up the PSVR, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

The sad part though is that this is a mere taste of what could be a much more robust game. Lets hope it sells well enough for Rocksteady to consider making an entire full Batman game set in VR, or if nothing else, maybe a VR mode for the existing Batman trilogy.

A solid 10/10