Salary Man Escape is a brand new (and currently platform exclusive) game for Playstation VR. Here’s what we thought of the game, out now courtesy of Oasis Games.
There was a period where China-based Oasis Games was releasing Playstation VR games at a rapid pace. Ace Banana, Pixel Gear, Weeping Doll and Dying: Reborn all came out in the first few months of Playstation VR’s lifecycle, but since then we’ve only had Light Tracer. Gameplay-wise, that’s probably the closest relative to their latest game as well – which also has elements from games like Tumble VR in it.
The term “salary man” denotes someone who devotes an exorbitant amount of time to his job, getting caught up in it and sacrificing large chunks of his private life in order to do so. It’s originally a Japanese term, and much of the game’s personality comes from its depiction of Japanese business culture – which it tries to make fun of as it turns the phenomenon into a videogame.
Your goal, in each of the game’s 78 levels, is to reach the exit. Easier said than done, although things start off easy in the first chapter (game environment) you encounter. As in Light Tracer, you can fully rotate the view to get an optimal view of the challenge ahead of you, and you control your office worker a bit like how you did it in Light Tracer as well. The puzzles are much more physics-based here though, which is where the Tumble VR reference comes in.
In Salary Man Escape, you can manipulate blocks that are red and you’re unable to move those that are grey. In the early puzzles, you’ll quickly learn what this means for your little salary man. There can be an elevated section in front of him, supported by red bricks at the bottom. Your task, as the player, is to remove these red bricks – automatically lowering the section and giving the salary man a way across towards the exit.
Pulling out (or pushing in) these red bricks is way more fun when using a Move controller, but DualShock controllers are also supported. I pretty much played exclusively with the Move controller, which worked fine for the most part even though things could get a little finicky at times – the camera being a bit awkward, or slight pathfinding issues. Again, something I remember from my time with Light Tracer as well.
While early Oasis VR games like Ace Banana mostly centered around a single gimmick, Light Tracer and now Salary Man prove that their game design approach is getting much better. Each episode introduces new gameplay elements into the mix, keepings things fresh even though I didn’t use anything close to the eight hours mentioned by the developer to get through the game. Perhaps this was due to my approach of getting all the golden coins right away and thus unlocking the extra levels right away (instead of going back later).
Audiovisually, this certainly isn’t the most colorful or impressive game in the Oasis lineup – with a relatively basic look for the game. It helps to bring out the red bricks against the grey levels and in that sense it’s a very functional look, but it’s not something to show off VR with. The soundtrack’s nice though, and everything plays out smoothly with crisp visuals as well.
Salary Man Escape doesn’t revolutionize the VR genre, but for those who enjoy puzzle titles in VR (like Tumble VR and/or Light Tracer) it’s a nice new addition to your library.