Rangi, by Funsoft, is a Playstation VR title that’s been converted from an earlier release on Steam. Originally a Gear VR title for the mobile platform, that makes this a port of a port. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile budget puzzle title with a theme that stands out.
Developed in Northern Africa, Rangi’s art and music style have been heavily influenced by African culture. This is certainly nice and refreshing, though you’re not going to be walking away with a lesson in culture from this one. Instead, it’s a fairly casual puzzler with a nice atmosphere – although it has some trouble shaking its mobile origins at times.
This can mainly be seen through the control scheme, although it works fine and has Move support included in the Playstation version. You can tell the developers had to work with relatively simple controls initially though, which reinforces thoughts of randomly clicking to make things happen (moving through teleportation, manipulating objects, etc). Luckily, the enjoyment of the main puzzle element isn’t affected by this – it just makes for a more casual experience than recent examples like Moss of CubeWorks.
In the game, you play as a shaman of sorts, and with your magical powers you must restore order to the world around you. The game is not heavy on story development, so most of your progress will be visualized and told through the puzzles you solve – many of whom will require changing the position of a (sliding) block to make sure that magical powers can keep flowing. It sounds a little vague, but it’s all quite intuitive and this is where Rangi’s mobile origins actually help.
Rangi also looks surprisingly good for a game that started off on Gear VR. It uses a cel-shaded visual style that translates well to a VR environment in that it doesn’t require a ton of computing power for small details and the visuals aren’t hurt by the transition to more powerful hardware. Don’t expect AAA visuals, but what’s on offer here is excellent for Rangi’s price point. Speaking of which – audiovisually everything comes together nicely, because sounds, music and the visuals all weave together to craft a nice and unique and mystical sense of atmosphere.
What Rangi does quite well, especially for a game with its background, is gameplay design and pacing. Although the game sticks to a familiar formula, there’s a nice sense of progression in its puzzles rather than the usual “here are 100 more or less similar levels to enjoy!” approach we see on mobile all too often. Rangi feels like it was always much more suitable for the jump to console gaming, and that’s paid off in this conversion. It won’t blow you away, but it’s solid at its price point.