Vertigo Games’ next major VR title will be After The Fall (which releases this year), but they’ve also just released Traffic Jams for PC-based VR headsets as well as the Oculus Quest. It’s coming to PSVR later this year, but we playtested the game on an Oculus Quest 2.
In terms of general tone and look and feel, Traffic Jams reminded us a bit of Shooty Fruity from nDreams, another prominent studio in the VR domain. You’re not working a cash register here though, you’re a road traffic controller – but in a cartoon-like environment, there’s plenty that can go wrong. And… it will.
The game starts off with a brief introduction, after which you’re thrown in at the deep end at an intersection. Guiding pedestrians and cars to where and when they need to go and stop is an immersive experience, especially because you’re using lifelike gestures to ‘control’ them all – an empowering sensation. You can even go power mad and cause them to speed up to almost uncontrollable speeds, which is a recipe for disaster. Luckily, we initially held that urge back and successfully graduated to the next scenario.
Traffic Jams transports you around the world with its levels, visiting major world cities that all have their own unique challenges with the people and vehicles you’ll need to direct. You’ll also notice that the flow of traffic is different depending on the time of day, so despite a simple core concept there’s a decent amount of diversity here. There are also optional objectives tucked away in many of the levels, so don’t be afraid if one of the undead strolls out of Arizona Sunshine and into your field of view.
The game also features a local multiplayer mode, which is always an interesting addition in a VR title. Here, non-VR players interact with the game world through their smart devices and complete missions and objectives together with the VR player, supplying tools and manipulating the flow of incoming traffic. It doesn’t have the campaign progression of the base game, but it’s fun in a party game kind of way.
When scenes are especially crowded, pointing out the right cars or pedestrians can become a tricky endeavor. Precisely controlling your hands and commands will require a bit of patience in those scenarios, which can be frustrating if you’re looking to ace a level but are making mistakes because you’re rushing through it too quickly.
For most players, however, this won’t be an issue. This is a lighthearted game where the fun factor is the most important element. It’s easy to get into for VR novices because the controls are intuitive and the setting is recognizable, and if they’re not comfortable with a headset they can still play thanks to the inclusion of a local multiplayer option.