Time Machine VR isn’t a virtual reality version of the classic novel or even the more modern movie adaptations – but it does borrow familiar elements from popular culture. Here’s our review of the game, which is now now available for Playstation VR after an earlier release for Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive.
Despite the “Time Machine” reference in the title, this is a game that actually echoes a different book/movie title – Jurassic Park. Sure, the story is about time travel, but it’s really just an excuse to go ahead and see some dinosaurs in the distant past. In the game’s thin plot, you’re studying them to find a way to cure a deadly disease in the present day. You use a time-traveling pod (not unlike what we saw in Jurassic World) to get close to them and hopefully learn from them.
The game is presented in a campy kind of way, with 3d environments mixed with live action video – something that reminded us a little of the Megarace games from the mid-nineties. This makes Time Machine VR a fun experience, especially because the virtual reality dinosaurs look really good – but it’s not a long lasting experience. The actual game portion of the experience is rather thin, and something akin to riding one of those jeeps on rails in the Jurassic Park movie (assuming they worked as they were supposed to). You get to see the dinosaurs, you get to learn about them… and that’s about it.
Brief moments of excitement come when a prehistoric shark creatures attack you, from which you have to escape by either floating away effectively or using your ability to briefly freeze time. There’s also some diversity because some levels take place underwater whereas others are on land – but it never quite escapes that “check out how awesome VR can be” feeling that the developers must have been trying to convey – perhaps forgetting about actually forging a great game around that experience.
It’s easy to compare Time Machine VR to Crytek’s Robinson: The Journey. Robinson had a bit more in terms of gameplay diversity, but it’s also twice the price of Time Machine VR. If you’re just looking for showcase material, then that probably matters. In that sense, it’s worth pointing out that Time Machine VR is visually stunning despite being a production of a smaller studio.
So while Time Machine VR is definitely not among one of the best games out there, it’s a great showcase for virtual reality gaming – and precisely the kind of thing you want to wow your friends with after buying a virtual reality headset. In that sense, Time Machine is a complete success and something that can scratch that itch for you – if you have it. If you’re looking for a lasting game-playing experience to entertain you for weeks on end, this isn’t it.