The VR puzzle platformer Carly and the Reaperman: Escape from the Underworld from Odd Raven Studios is out now for Playstation VR – read on to find out why it’s one of our favorite PSVR experiences yet!
Carly and the Reaperman (we’ll abbreviate the title) isn’t a brand new game, as it was released for PC-based systems back in June. The PSVR version just came out though, and it’s one of the best examples of local multiplayer for Playstation VR to grace the system yet, allowing you to play the game with a second player who uses the TV screen to play – though a single player mode is also supported.
In the game, you cooperate between a little girl named Carly and a huge floating skeleton – the Reaperman. It’s a little like Moss, but instead of the protagonist occasionally making contact with you as a player by looking at the camera you actually see the Reaperman represented on screen. This works especially well in the game’s two player mode, where one player controls the Reaperman (using a pair of Move controllers or a gamepad) while the other plays a “regular” platform game on the TV screen. Where PSVR usually closes a player off to the outside world, you can have real interactions in Carly’s tale. The effect isn’t as strong when playing this in the single player mode, where you switch between both characters and more or less “pause” one of the two.
The core of the game is an entertaining puzzle platformer, in which you must help souls escape from the underworld by completing levels. There’s a narrative as well, which is laid out using a lot of on-screen text rather than voiceovers. It’s a shame the developer didn’t add more voice work to the game, but we understand that this isn’t a title with the kinds of budgets that Moss or Astrobot had to work with as well. Despite the cartoon-like visuals, the story borders a bit on the dark side, which isn’t ideal when playing with a younger child but well written when you take the time for it. It’s a lengthy campaign too, with a total runtime well exceeding six hours for us and possibly more if you take a little extra time to explore.
I would recommend playing Carly and the Reaperman with another player, and not just because it’s more fun to play that way – encouraging vocal interaction as much as in-game interacting. The other big reason is that, when you play in single player mode, you already play both sides of the story. Playing together, you could opt to replay the entire game with the roles reversed, adding a ton of replayability to the game by changing the dynamic and controls around 180 degrees.
I’ve already mentioned that Odd Raven Studios wasn’t working with a first party kind of budget, but don’t let that fool you into thinking this is a small production. There’s a ton of content in the game and it’s clearly been a very ambitious project for the team. The visual aspect may be a tad more minimalistic than what you see in the aforementioned titles, but it’s a small price to pay since Carly and the Reaperman is right up there with those games when it comes to originality and fun in the VR space.
While games like Moss and Astrobot have a bit more audiovisual polish, neither game supports multiplayer. This is the biggest draw of Odd Raven’s Carly and the Reaperman, which is a title anyone should play who has an affinity for more local multiplayer-centric VR titles like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and VR Diner Duo. In that little subgenre, Carly is the first game to apply the mechanic to the puzzle platforming genre – which is proving to be a favorite among VR titles, which ironically was first considered to be mostly suitable for first person experiences.