Tag Archives: PSVR

Esper review (PSVR)

Esper is not only a super stylish puzzler that has a healthy sprinkle of Portal vibes, but it’s also got bags of charm thanks to the excellent narration skills of Eric Meyers.

Set solely within the confines of an office, you are at the centre of the narrator’s attention. Evidently having telekinetic powers is a bone of contention for the government and so they are testing everyone exhibiting these powers to see if they are a threat to our society.

The stylish visuals of your cell office are merely the outer shell to a machine that protrudes robotic arms from the walls and ceiling to create the different maze-like tests – you are the mouse in a lab. The goal of each test is to place objects into their correct pot, which is done so by using your mind or rather by aiming and gripping objects with the trigger of the motion controller. There are other methods of control – head tracking and DualShock – but I found that the motion controller worked best.

I say best, there were moments when I couldn’t get enough of a grip on the various objects, with them slipping from my grasp at the most inconvenient moments. This wasn’t much of an issue during the early levels but became a real pain during the more tricky scenarios that require that little bit more finesse.

This was made harder by the fact you are seated behind a desk. Your telekinetic powers have limitations, like not being able to manipulate objects through certain materials – the desk included – so when a level is full of obstacles and you need every bit of space to work, the desk can be a real pain in the ass, severing your connecting to an object.

Manipulating the move controller – you only need one – at times was also tricky and during a particular level, this gave an added frustration that led me to my first road bock. Chapter 6:1 was the level in question and I just couldn’t fathom a solution, which was made even more frustrating by the controls seemingly working against me.

Up until this point I had only fallen victim to the odd glitch in physics, where an object that should have slotted neatly into position misaligned and the level wouldn’t complete, resulting in me having to hit the reset button to start the puzzle over.

The worst part about level 6:1 wasn’t the fact the controls were awkward; it was because I overcomplicated the solution. A short break and the answer was there as clear as day and that’s the beauty of Esper. Often the solution was so deviously simple that I looked too hard for a complex solution – well played Coatsink Software.

Not enough praise can be lorded over the narration. Meyers delivers his lines as perfectly as Portal’s Wheatley. His lines are clever and on occasion even made me chuckle, serving as a great scene setter to what is going on and leaving the game with the perfect precursor to a sequel.

Despite the minor irritations I had, the game is so charming – minus level 6:1 – that I couldn’t stay mad at it for long. Creating and pitching a puzzle game at the right difficulty is no easy feat but developer 
Coatsink Software have nailed it and also brought an extra flourish of exquisite narration to sweeten the deal. Here’s hoping 
they also release Esper 2 for PSVR.

I beat the game in around 2 hours – plus another 20-30 minutes mopping up the trophies I had missed – making it a fairly short experience albeit an extremely fun one. If you like VR puzzlers like Statik, Tumble and I Expect You To Die, then you should certainly pick up Esper, especially as it’s only £6.49.

Thanks to Coatsink for supporting TiX

Esper puzzles onto PSVR next week

I do love a good puzzle game, more so when it’s in VR and Coastsink Software are bringing their popular mobile VR puzzler, Esper, to PSVR next week and it looks like great fun.

Like something from the minds of Aperture Science Laboratories – it seems that you are cast into a whole sequence of testing on account of an unusual telekinetic ability to move objects – there’s the point of reason of context for PSVR. Essentially it’s a cool set of puzzles in VR.

“Esper is where the VR journey began for Coatsink and it holds a dear place in our hearts. Having Oculus approach us in the early days of modern day VR and trust our then small team to build and create an acclaimed VR game for Gear VR was nothing short of incredible.” Tom Beardsmore, CEO of Coastsink Software

Esper launches on June 29th, 2018.

KONA VR review (PSVR)

While it may seem like a bit of a cop out, getting VR support for a game that has already seen a release is no bad thing – especially when it has been implemented as well as in KONA VR. I have always been intrigued by the game, but I was yet to set foot into the 70s world of detective Carl Faubert and very much looked forward to experiencing it for the first time in VR.

While KONA is a mystery adventure, it’s more akin to a walking sim, which makes it a perfect fit for PSVR – imagine if Everyone has Gone to the Rapture got a VR edition…

The cold confines of Northern Quebec means you need to fight against the elements, lighting fires to keep yourself warm and save your progress. These cold temperatures restrict you from exploring too far from safety without the necessary tools and resources to make a fire, but this is a short-lived shackle.

Soon I found a warm coat and plenty of fuel to make a fire whenever I came across a stove or campsite. While it’s a neat mechanic it’s underused and by the end of the game I had enough fuel to burn the whole place to the ground. The narrator also warned me of needing to eat – but at least in the VR version – it never caused me any concern; I finished the game without ever needing to eat or use a medical kit.

The story, which like many walking sims, is pretty darn intriguing – think Firewatch – and is told via a narrator who offers up clues as to what you need to do next. Annoyingly, subtitles get in the way at the bottom of the screen. Along with a desolate environment, the narration creates an awesome unnerving feeling that something is about to jump out and shout boo! While I can’t say that never happens, the place is practically deserted, which not only intensifies the eeriness, but it also makes the world rather sterile.

Homes have been evacuated in a hurry and many clues and items are left lying around in the open, which makes the whole puzzling element rather too straightforward. Sure there are a few puzzles to solve, but their solution rarely needed much thought. Instead, a drawer that could be opened or an object I could pick up didn’t reveal itself the first time I looted an area – you need to pause momentarily for useful items to be highlighted.

The biggest hurdle in the game is working out where you must travel to next, which is done via some rather squiffy driving controls. It’s also made all the more difficult because the text on the map and within the case notes are so hard to read. Several clues, letters and news clippings have the option of an overlay that reveals clear easy to read text; it’s frustrating the same mechanic wasn’t extended to the map and journal.

With multiple story threads to discover (and solve) at your leisure, the main story quest will see you through to completion in around 4.5 hours. As you unravel the game, scenes jump from one to another and as I tried to piece together the series of clues to try and make sense of what is happening, I got the strangest impression that overall the game plays more like a huge escape room.

KONA VR may dable into other gaming genres but the game firmly hangs its fur coat on the walking sim genre’s peg, which is certainly no bad thing. It’s immersive and looks great, but it’s a shame that while the narrative is rich in content, the world is absent of life, something that many titles in the genre also suffer from.

While KONA has received a VR patch, it plays like it was built for VR – I just love the immersion that these kinds of games offer – a wonderful world to explore and investigate. I enjoy walking sims, but in VR I think I may love them that much more.

Thanks to Koch Media for supporting TiX

Salary Man Escape hits PSVR June 26

I’ve rather enjoyed the few VR puzzlers on PSVR, so news of another title joining the ranks is certainly a welcome one. Published by Oasis Games and developed by Red Accent Studios, Salary Man Escape is a ‘satirical VR physics puzzle game’.

Manipulation of blocks to reveal a path to freedom from his dull life of the grind of daily life at an office, players guide Salaryman through 6 chapters, made up of a total of 78 levels.

Minimalistic design, monochromatic graphics and a Japanese 80s soundtrack make up this rather exciting looking puzzler and it launches for PSVR on June 26, according to Road to VR.

PSVR Beat Saber has been confirmed

In the final day of PlayStation reveals before their main E3 press conference, Beat Saber was revealed as the “eagerly anticipated game coming to PSVR” – it may be eagerly anticipated, but weren’t we expecting that this would be headed to PSVR? Either way, it’s good to see an official reveal.

The action rhythm game, which looks like a training mode for samurai/Jedi masters, sure looks addictive. It’s been making waves – or rather slashes – on PC, with the beats of the game hitting a satisfying feeling as you physically slash out at the red/blue blocks that fly at you, it’s like fruit ninja on a Guitar Hero track.

Beat Saber concludes the daily reveals, which have been a mixed bag with Days Gone being the standout title.

PSVR Ghost Giant announced

Today’s PlayStation reveal was for a brand new PSVR title called Ghost Giant. Interacting with the environment, the PSVR player is cast as a big friendly ghost, who helps the cute Louis through the trials and tribulations of daily life. The world is one big sandbox to play in, although it will no doubt include puzzles to solve along the way in what looks to be a charming narrative.

The bond between ghost and Louis will certainly strike a chord with anyone who played the marvellous Moss.

All that is left in PlayStation’s daily announcements running up to E3 is “an eagerly anticipated game comes to PSVR”, which will be unveiled on Sunday, 10th June at 4.00PM BST/5.00pm CEST.

Tetris Effect heads to PS4 and PSVR

Announced as part of Playstation’s daily reveal in the run-up to E3, Tetris Effect is heading to PS4 and PSVR in the Fall of 2018.

Created by Tetsuya Mizuguchi, the creator of Rez, Tetris Effect is a new take on the classic puzzler of fitting various square shaped blocks into neat lines. The point of difference, as the trailer states, is that there has been a lot of research on the “Tetris Effect” and the game uses this as its focus – creating levels that maximise this unusual phenomenon.

Take a look at the trailer for a look and what this means and sounds like in the game…

While I am intrigued by what can possibly be done to reinvigorate such a simple (and old) game, I can’t help but feel this is a rather anti-climatic way to kick of these daily announcements. It is however a beautiful trailer and I look forward to at least grabbing the demo to give it a try in VR.

Playstation announce ‘Days of Play’ event for 2018

Sony have announced the return of Days of Play, which is a global promotion that offers epic deals at participating retailers. From 8th to 18th June, gamers can get discounts on hardware, peripherals and PlayStation 4 exclusive games.

Sony are also introducing a Days of Play Limited Edition PS4 system on 8th June, which is a limited-edition console in Days of Play Blue, features the iconic PlayStation symbols in a gold design. The system comes with two matching DualShock 4 wireless controllers, which also feature subtle gold PlayStation shapes on the touchpad.

One of the biggest price reductions in the Days Of Play sale is that of the PSVR which will be available here in the UK, along with either Wipeout Omega Collection or GT Sport for the incredibly low price of £199.99, which may just convince those of us on the fence over VR to take a look.

There are also price reductions to be had on God Of War, Shadow of the Colossus and GT Sport.

Check out the official Playstation website for all the details and the deals!

Killing Floor Incursion review (PSVR)

Killing Floor Incursion is one good looking game and in its early hours it’s incredibly chilling, particularly while you are getting used to the controls – fumbling around to holster your gun so you can pick up ammo with a free hand, while Zeds bare down on you is guaranteed to raise the hairs on the back of your neck and cause you to panic just ever so slightly.

Indeed, the initial VR adjustment needed in order to accurately holster your firearms and melee weapons is made that much more clumsy when you’re being rushed by an oncoming horde. You can of course just drop the weapon, which respawns in its holster after a short while.

Dual wielding weapons or clutching a flashlight will keep your hands full, which presents the biggest problem – being able to grab more ammo or health – and it’s this restriction that gives the game an extra level of urgency.

Each level can be explored via free motion, but I stuck with the lasso to teleport around, which easily allows you to avoid the horde until you get your shit together. Hop about too often and your stamina decreases making the aiming point of the lasso shuffle slowly across the floor simulating tiredness. It sure does increase the intensity of some of the scenarios – and while I understand the mechanic of simulating stamina – it merely prolonged the rinse and repeat combat of putting enough distance between you and your enemies before spinning around to open fire.

Fumbling about goes beyond trying to holster your weapons. You need to pull pins from grenades, pump shotguns and pull the bolt of the sniper rifle back to load a new bullet. There are also several environmental puzzles to grab at; all while Zeds swarm around you. It’s this level of interaction and immersion that makes Killing Floor that much more creepy because you feel more part of its world, despite being told you are merely entering a simulation while your real world body is being ‘repaired’.

The sweet shot – as any undead hunter will know – is to aim for the head, but there’s more fun to be had, Zeds and many of the other creatures can be dismembered limb by limb. You can even grab a severed arm or head to bash Zeds. Killing Floor even manages to weave in boss fights, which are rather unsightly but also quite ineffectual – resorting to a rinse and repeat tactics of pouring in shots before turning tail and legging it to find more ammo (and health).

Unlike some zombie based VR games, Killing Floor is quite fast paced with hordes soon bottlenecking en masse, so culling them should be top of your list, otherwise expect lots of manic reloading and running across areas before spinning around to unleash a clip before doing the same again until none are left standing – it can get quite repetitive.

The gunplay of Killing Floor is solid. Shots are accurate and the guns look superb, but as great as the firearms are, the easiest way through each horde is to wildly swing at them with a melee weapon. Unfortunately doing so instantly diminishes any intensity of the combat, which slightly spoils the game. Melee weapons could have really done with a break limit making them an option you need to carefully consider rather than being able to thoughtlessly swing with.

Killing Floor’s main trick is far too overused – enemies run straight at you growling and groaning – beyond the intensity of the number of enemies versus your seemingly pathetic arsenal, the only scares come from the first level or when you accidentally stumble into an enemy. Sure it never ceased to make the hairs on my neck stand on end, but its ‘horror’ was a one-trick pony, although I must admit to being happy that the eerie Resident Evil-esque opening level only stays for one level.

While I enjoyed my solo time with Killing Floor, it’s undoubtedly better with a friend and if you have a regular co-op partner, then you should definitely pick this up, particularly for the never ending wave based holdout mode, otherwise it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

At roughly four-five hours, there’s a decent sized campaign and with a never-ending horde mode, which is best played in co-op, there is plenty of fun beyond the campaign. The sniper rifle sequence, which admittedly drags on slightly, is the best use of VR sniping I’ve experienced and with Aim Controller support hopefully in the pipeline, Killing Floor Incursion will sit proudly at the top of my VR shooter pile.

Thanks to ONE PR Studio and Tripwire Interactive for supporting TiX

Star Trek The Next Generation boldly goes to Bridge Crew

To boldly go where no VR has gone before, Star Trek Bridge Crew is set to receive brand new missions starting May 22.

Fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation will be particularly happy that the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D is headed to Bridge Crew via the game’s first piece of DLC. Priced at £11.99, the DLC adds cloaked Romulan fleets and the notorious Borg to the Ongoing Missions mode, which has been bolstered with Patrol and Resistance missions.

While out on patrol, players will be able to free roam while receiving random objective requests and experience various encounters. Meanwhile Resistance mode pits you against the Borg. As if that isn’t enough, the DLC also introduces a new role to the bridge – Operations. This role is focused on crew management – deploying NPC crew members to various parts of the ship.

Whether you play in VR or with the traditional TV setup, Star Trek Bridge Crew is a lot of fun – and not just for Trekkies either.