Blind, by Fellow Traveller Games, is a new VR puzzle thriller with elements of drama that revolves around an inability to see. Out now for Playstation VR, we played through the game’s narrative-driven campaign.
As the start of Blind, you see short story fragments about you (Jean) and your brother (Scott) getting into a car accident. When you regain consciousness and assume control of Jean, you find that you are no longer able to see – instead “seeing” the world based on objects (like a record player) that create sound waves that bounce off of surfaces around you. In a very visual way, it represents (in VR) a sense of what being blind is like.
Of course, this concept isn’t new – we’ve seen in vey recently in games like Perception and Stifled, the latter of which is also a VR-enabled title. Blind takes a different approach to the VR experience than Stifled did though, as it is far more narrative-driven and doesn’t lean on horror elements as much. Sure, there is a creepy house and a mysterious and slightly unnerving man, but you never really feel threatened in Blind.
Instead, Blind has you solving puzzles, and often gently carries you from puzzle to puzzle using its narrative. This starts early on, as a voice tells you not to worry and helps you get out of the first room. Of course, not being able to see and running into locked doors does the exact opposite of putting you at ease – and meeting the man behind the voice a few minutes later doesn’t do much to ease your nerves either (although the game never actually gets scary).
He does present you with a cane, which you can use to tap the floor and generate sound waves that enable you to see. Sound also features in the game’s puzzles, for example early on when you have to listen to a piece of music in order to determine the order in which you have to press certain buttons. Other puzzles are far less “sensory” in nature, but it’s great to see things like this being integrated into a story that’s largely about sensory deprivation.
Blind has another layer as well, as its narrative isn’t just a tool to move you forward from puzzle to puzzle but also lets you discover more about Jean and her family – often providing a dramatic and emotional touch to the proceedings. In some cases, the two also interconnect – like when you listen to your father’s recordings that give you hints about what to do next. If you get stuck, it may also be because you misplaced a crucial item – an option in the pause menu can fix this for you, although it also gives away which item is deemed “crucial”.
Blind’s story took me several hours to complete, which is pretty good for a VR title that sits at the lower end of the mid-priced range of games. Replayability is minimal because of the puzzles following set patterns, though there are a few trophies that didn’t unlock or reveal itself during my playthrough so there’s definite appeal for completionists there.
Visually, Blind is more detailed than what you got with the minimalist look of Stifled, though you’ll be spending a bulk of your time in darkness (for obvious reasons). You can control Blind using a DualShock gamepad, but can also go with a pair of Move controllers for some extra immersion. Moving around is more comfortable with a DualShock, but fumbling around in the dark is obviously more fun with the Move controllers.
We’ve seen the “being blind” mechanic before, but if you want to explore it within the context of a narrative-driven experience, then Blind is a great choice. It doesn’t succeed in delivering on what could have been a terrifying scenario, but it does offer a compelling tale of drama and sensory-based gameplay quite well.