Dying: Reborn by Oasis Games is now available on the Playstation Store in two flavors. We tried out the Playstation VR version of this escape room-inspired horror adventure.
The fact that Dying: Reborn is available in two versions on the store is a tad confusing. It’s the same game, but the Playstation VR version only has three out of the six escape rooms available to play. If you want the full experience including the VR levels, you’ll have to buy both editions – which seems like a silly way to go. I’m not a software engineer, but I wish both code bases had been combined into a single package – or at least available as a bundle. Luckily for VR owners though, the PSVR version is only half the price – so that’s a great way to get started.
Dying: Reborn capitalizes on the popularity of real life escape rooms, a phenomenon often enjoyed in groups but which has already made the leap to VR before. The HTC Vive has several such titles, and there are plenty of them available on the Play store to use with Gear VR or even Cardboard. The Playstation – as far as we know – hasn’t yet received such a game, so it’s great that Oasis is taking the first step here. In the game, you play as Mathew, who is looking for his missing sister inside a creepy hotel/hostel-like setting that evokes memories of the creepy movies and games that used a similar style.
Although there is an overarching storyline, the main focus of the game is on how to get through each of the three rooms (or six, if you play without VR) and on how to beat the puzzles that allow you to do so. Items that you pick up can either be story-related or puzzle-related, and in some cases a little bit of both. The puzzles are generally not too difficult, and I never had to reach for an online solution for any of them. There are a few riddles, a few math/sequence puzzles and puzzles where you combine or use items – there is definitely a good selection here. As with real escape rooms, you can breeze through in a half hour if you know what you’re doing – but there’s a two or three hour challenge here the first time you play.
Dying is a decent enough first attempt at a PSVR escape room game, but it also feels a tad rushed and unpolished at times. The graphics are quite well done for a budget title, but the audio is a little lackluster, with very little to no ambient sound and sparse sound effects – it reminded me of a Gear VR title in this way, and it shouldn’t have. There are also a few sloppy mistakes, like sounds that keep looping when you open the inventory and controls that could have used a bit more customization options.
If you’re interested in horror-themed games and like the escape room phenomenon, then Dying: Reborn is 10 dollars/euros well spent because you’ll forgive its shortcomings. As a regular gamer, it might not hold the appeal for you because some of its unpolished state. This is also true for the game’s “ending”, which comes abruptly after wrapping up the third room. Let’s hope the other three and the completion come to VR at some point as well. Along with a few optimizations and a little polish, this could become a gem of an escape room game. For now – enthusiasts only.