Statik is one of the coolest VR concepts to come out so far. Check our review to see why we like this brand new puzzler from Tarsier Studios.
It seems like some of the best VR games so far embrace virtual reality in ways that just wouldn’t work as well without it. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is such a game, as is Werewolves Within – and Star Trek Bridge Command promises an equally unique experience. Tarsier’s Statik fits right in with its approach, which is extremely clever at getting around a problem with immersion that a lot of VR games have.
When it comes to immersion, VR games that require a regular gamepad never quite make you feel like you’re IN the game – you’re controlling the action and looking at it from the inside, but it’s not the same. Move controllers help a lot, but they don’t work for every game out there. Statik has a great solution for this problem, as you start the game and find your in-game hands locked in a mysterious box that you have to try and get open.
The box tilts and rotates as you move your hands, allowing you to view it from all sides. Inside the box, you have a number of controls at your disposal, but what they do is unclear. These controls are obviously the buttons and sticks on your gamepad in real life, but their functions differ for every box you have to escape from. Unable to see inside the box, the sensation feels more real than any gamepad-based VR experience so far.
A mysterious doctor observes you while you try to beat these various puzzles, and interacts with you as you try to progress and find out why you’re kept prisoner here. Discovery’s a big thing in Statik – there is no real tutorial, and the game’s premise is a mystery when you start out. It’s a bit like waking up inside a trap from one of the Saw movies, except for the lack of a dark or morbid theme. Instead, Statik has a sci-fi setting somewhat similar to Portal or Esper.
The way your controller works differs from puzzle to puzzle, and this diversity also translates to the puzzles themselves. Sometimes you’re manipulating dials on the sides of the box, while other times you’re interacting with the environment around you – for instance, by controlling a little car or looking for clues to possible solutions. This makes Statik a game with many sides to it, and not just literally. For instance, it allows others to help you by spotting clues in the background while you’re still focusing on your box and its controls.
The game is relatively short and doesn’t offer a whole lot of replay value, which is its main downside. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes randomizes its puzzles, so it takes quite a while before the challenge is lost there. Statik doesn’t, but offers up a more audiovisually polished experience while it lasts with a richer story and a creative touch rarely seen in VR so far.