A week after the PC release, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets by Fast Travel Games is out now for Playstation VR. It’s a charming casual puzzler well worth your time – here’s why.
Speaking to some of the people at Fast Travel Games this past summer, we found out that The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets started out as a bit of a fun experiment within the team and grew into a full game from there. Now that it’s finished, the joy that went into its creation still oozes out of every bit and pixel, making it one of the better ‘feel good’ titles you can get for VR platforms.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets sounds like a mystery title, and to a degree it is, but it’s less narrative-driven than you’d think. There’s a central storyline that is told from a “when we were young” perspective that allows you to more or less travel back in time and relive those memories, but the story is really never much more than a setup to the game’s puzzles. These require you to find a selection of “lost” pets inside a level, and to do so you’ll have to poke around, pull on things and solve a few (mostly casual) puzzles.
Instead of moving through a scene in search of your missing pets, each level presents you with a beautiful diorama that you can grab hold of and gently spin around. This allows you to stay stationary, making it an extremely comfortable VR experience. And yet, at the same time, the ability to peek your head in to look for clues or hidden collectibles and the many ways in which you can directly interact with elements in the game (with a pair of Move controllers) make this an experience that can only work this well in VR.
The game only features a handful of levels, and if you don’t get stumped you’ll complete the game in about an hour or so – which is something we had assumed based on our earlier hands-on with the game. There’s a limited amount of replay value if you didn’t collect all of the hidden coins on your first playthrough, but after that it just becomes one of those experiences you can easily share with friends who visit – the controls couldn’t be more intuitive and everything’s so incredibly charming that you can’t help but love what you’re doing.
A lot of that is due to the game’s presentation, which opts for a cartoon-like visual style and features adorable little characters and creatures inside each diorama as well as plenty of interactive elements for you to play around with. Everything’s well animated, the music is beautifully soothing and uplifting and the sound effects fit with the cute aesthetic of it all. This isn’t a kid’s game mostly because kids aren’t supposed to wear a VR helmet, but it’s a lot of fun to play together with a kid operating the Move controllers while you help by looking around and talking out the puzzles together.
Of course, people will no doubt comment on how short the whole experience is and fault the game for it. It’s been priced at a very competitive price point at launch though, so I have no issue with the game’s length at all. From my perspective, you’d be extremely hard pressed to find VR titles of this quality within the same price range. Sure, I wish it was longer too, but only because it’s one of the most charming VR games to be released so far, on any platform.