Developed and produced by Manchester based independent team, Odd Bug Studio – formed by ex-students of Norwich University of the Arts – The Lost Bear is a side scrolling platformer for PSVR.
The stage is quite literally set. Seated in front of a stage with harmonious acoustic guitar rifting in the background. Specs of light float past as you sit in the wood waiting for the show to begin. As the curtain rolls and the side scrolling adventure begins, the movement is set in the background, which made for an odd experience until my head adjusted to how the VR motion played out.
You play as a small girl in the woods with what appears to be your father. Upon getting some supplies, your teddy bear is stolen and you have to embark on a short journey to retrieve it, meeting some odd creatures on the way – and a mystical bear – the story isn’t give any explanation so is rather tertiary to the experience, admittedly this has worked for other limbo-esque titles.
Each environment is wonderfully drawn and the elements bleed out beyond the stage, changing the surroundings you are seating in – with characters coming off stage and performing in the auditorium. Things fly off the stage and come right at you, similar to the tricks of cinematic 3D films. These VR moments are pretty neat; there just aren’t enough of them.
The platforming is interspersed with several DualShock moments, but like the VR, I feel like these moments could have been used far more throughout the game. In particular, the slingshot mechanic adds a great DualShock moment although the most irritating puzzle that required you to ring some bells, turned out to the best one, with the solution hidden in the expanded environment beyond the stage – it’s these moments that I would have liked to of seen more from.
The Lost Bear is full of charm; it’s a simple yet fun platformer that works well with its VR elements, which delight the senses. It’s worth playing the game through a few times and move your gaze away from the stage to watch the characters play in the auditorium. It makes for some nice immersive elements, which while they don’t directly impact the game, can only be achieved in the virtual reality space.
Jumps and puzzles are all rather simple and hazards predictable, with the only stumbling block being a scene where I had to jump to avoid an enemy. Needless to say, I died a whole bunch of times, which is no big deal other than suffering some rather long load times.
The Lost Bear looks gorgeous and sounds fantastic, but with only five chapters clocking in at 1-2 hours playtime, it’s a shame The Lost Bear falls short on content, but with some great ideas and a charming story it’s certainly worth your time.