Along Together is Turbo Button’s second Playstation VR release in a short while. After the escape room-like Floor Plan, this is more of puzzle platformer. How does it compare to others in the genre?
As was the case with Floor Plan, Along Together is a game that was previously released on another platform – Google Daydream. As with Gear VR and other phone-based systems, that comes with its limitations – especially when it comes to the control options that are available to you. As a result, I was surprised that Turbo Button had actually implemented full gameplay support in Along Together when I was expecting this to be a Move-controlled title.
In Along Together, you’re the imaginary friend of a young boy or girl (you’re free to choose, but the game plays out exactly the same way) and you have the power to manipulate elements of the game world to help your little protagonist along on his/her quest to retrieve a beloved pet dog called Rishu. In a way, it’s a viewer/protagonist relationship that brings back memories of the brilliant Moss that was released earlier this year – although Along Together doesn’t rock the same kind of production values.
In a way, I kind of miss the Move controls when manipulating the game world (which is now done with R2), but the upside of the new gamepad controls is that you have far more control over your little protagonist this time – on Daydream, “control” was limited to pointing and clicking. On the PS4, you can control things using regular thumbstick controls instead – making the experience more like Moss than, for instance, Light Tracer.
Even with the control change, Along Together is a breeze to control – but that doesn’t always translate to a straightforward game. Although the challenges you have to overcome start off very easy, you’ll quickly move into scenarios where you have to think ahead and can get stuck, even if it’s just for a little while. The tougher puzzles usually have something to do with the order in which you manipulate game world items – being limited to a single “action/manipulate” command that applies to every puzzle move makes things easy for you and keeps puzzles intuitive and frustration-free.
The downside of this is that, assuming you don’t get completely stuck at a certain puzzle, you’ll get through the entire game in under three hours – and that’s while going for the hidden items that are tucked away in the game’s three big game areas. That doesn’t sound like a lot, but each one has several smaller sections that make up the different levels that are filled with puzzles and other challenges. Puzzles are relatively diverse, as you’ll encounter crate-based puzzles, switches to operate and even a few areas where you have direct control over your character’s slingshot. Along Together mixes up the environments to allow for this diversity in puzzles as well, with forest areas as well a big scrapyard and an underground mine.
On the audiovisual front, it’s clear that Along Together is a smaller production than Moss was, and that it has its roots in the Daydream platform. With its graphics and Sims-like (gibberish) voice-overs, the game is closer to Mervils in its look and feel. The viewer-protagonist dynamic is definitely alive and well in Along Together though, and it evokes a sense of charm that will definitely appeal to Moss fans. Combined with some solid puzzle platforming, it makes for a fun game we wish was a little longer.