We’ve seen a few ambitious VR ports in recent years, and the brand adaptation of Creepy Jar’s Green Hell certainly fits into that category. We took a look at the game on the Quest platform, where it’s exclusive to the newer generation Quest 2 headsets.
The regular flat screen version of Green Hell has become a massive hit on its original platform (Steam), and is actually still receiving new content, with Part 3 of Spirits of Amazonia having just launched. The console ports of the game were also well received, but the transition to VR meant having to cut corners in terms of technical performance and tweaking the gameplay to fit a new medium. Luckily, they’ve done quite well in both areas.
At its core, this is still very much Green Hell though – casting you as protagonist Jake Higgins looking for his partner Mia in the Amazon jungle, facing constant dangers to his own life in the process. You could plummet to your death, but even an innocent-looking berry can be the end of you. There’s a need to eat though, and some plants might have uses beyond food as well. You’ll learn a lot through trial and error (with fairly generous checkpoints), but the local wildlife and jungle tribes are also things to look out for.
You’ll build, craft and fight your way through the jungle, with story elements at regular intervals to help flesh out the campaign. In that sense, it’s very much like Green Hell on a PC or console, though the VR version exists in a condensed and focused form. This means that the game map is smaller than it was before, somewhat reducing the sense of scale that you felt when playing the original game. Some mechanics have also been cut, so there are fewer structures to build and worry about here – a design decision that is probably smart because it fits with the smaller game map. But even with that smaller gameplay experience, our playthrough of the campaign still came close to lasting about ten hours, which is more than the norm within VR.
And while some features were cut during the transition to VR, others were added to better suit the medium. Motion controls are a big thing here, and although combat feels a little wild and unwieldy when things get up close and personal, tracking a prey with a bow and arrow and then letting go is pretty exciting in VR. Interacting with the environment to pick up or harvest resources also relies on motion controls, as does a lot of the crafting, which makes this the most immersive way to play Green Hell yet.
That immersion is hurt a little by a reduced level of visual detail, which is something you were probably expecting if you’re played VR adaptations of games like Blair Witch before. Vegetation looks a lot more plain here, but for a VR title Green Hell VR does a great job of convincingly giving you the sense you’re in the Amazon jungle. It may be a tad less densely populated this time around, but combined with nice sound and weather effects it’s a convincing environment nonetheless.
Green Hell VR may not be a VR version of the full Green Hell experience, but it’s a lovely VR survival game that will appeal to fans of the original game and VR gamers alike with a good use of motion controls and solid gameplay mechanics.