We’re exploring three recent Virtual Reality releases today, looking at the long-awaited PSVR port of Lucky’s Tale, the App Lab escape room that is Escape from Nefertiti’s Tomb and the creative sandbox that is Painting VR.
Lucky’s Tale review (PSVR)
As the first game that showed us that platformers could actually work in VR, Lucky’s Tale holds a special place in our heart. When you consider that our first hands-on experience with the game was back in 2014, it’s also surprising that we haven’t seen a lot more attempts at the genre over the years – though the recent release of Moss – Book II proved once again how much fun platforming can be in VR. Now, after many rumors or a port over the years, Lucky’s Tale finally arrives on PlayStation VR – at a moment where we weren’t really expecting it anymore.
We’ve covered Lucky’s Tale in its flat screen reimagining before, and have also covered the more recent port to the Quest 2 headset, so gameplay-wise there isn’t a whole lot that’s new for PlayStation VR owners. There are the same subtle differences that made the Quest 2 version stand out from the original Rift release, including new visual effects and an updated character model for Lucky.
It’s a game that’s beginning to show its age though, even with the visual tweaks – this is a game that was built for 2014 hardware (when the PlayStation 4 was brand new), so coming from the new Moss game this looks more like a quality PS3-era platformer these days. It’s still a lot of fun to play though, and hasn’t lost its pioneering touch – mechanics like being able to turn your head to check out the environment for secrets and alternate routes is great, and the game makes great use of camera angles and depth to create challenges that simply aren’t as exciting in a flat screen title. It’s on the short side, but it’s a piece of VR gaming history that every VR enthusiast needs to have played – we’re excited that that now includes PSVR gamers as well, as the game (finally!) transitioned flawlessly to the platform.
Escape from Nefertiti’s Tomb preview (Quest)
While flat screen interpretations of the escape room phenomenon never really captured our imagination (with the exception of the games in the excellent The Room franchise), it’s a genre that works great in VR, where the technology can transport you to another location and lets you “physically” interact with items rather than using a mouse or controller to do so. Developer WisEngineering’s Digital Reality Lab currently has Escape from Nefertiti’s Tomb in the Oculus App Lab program, and it’s one to keep an eye out for.
Obviously, a big clue about what to expect lies in the game’s title, as Escape from Nefertiti’s Tomb transports players to the remnants of ancient Egypt as you become trapped inside the tomb of the famous Queen and have to try and make your way out of there. As with many digital escape room titles, this one doesn’t confine itself to a single space, and exploring the tomb means traversing through several chambers in sequence.
There’s a good mix of different puzzle types, and with hieroglyphics and ancient statues and tablets in abundance there’s a great “Indiana Jones/National Treasure” vibe to it all, giving this particular escape room a nice adventurous feel. It’s not perfect though, and we ran into a few rough edges that make it clear why this one’s still in the App Lab – little technical glitches popped up here and there and we even had the game crash on us once, but never anything that a quick reload didn’t fix. Once the game received a bit more polish, this is a VR escape room that fans of the genre will want to check out.
Painting VR review (Quest)
Unsurprisingly, Painting VR isn’t the usual kind of VR app that we cover – it’s a virtual reality take on painting, and in this case you don’t have to be a serious artist or have any kind of real talent to enjoy it. Lucky for us.
Painting VR, from Oisoi Studio, certainly isn’t the first of its kind, but it feels very welcoming to all comers. For those without an artistic bone in their bodies who just want to play around, that’s great news. If you just want to splash paint on a canvas and see how it’ll turn out, you can do just that. Wild brush strokes? Perfectly fine, and even encouraged using a magnet mounted on a drill, which you can use to create your own custom tools for the job by attaching a variety of brushes to it. Watch the chaos unfold when you turn on the drill, or try and be gentler about it with a sense of purpose to your work.
For those who are more artistically inclined, Painting VR also provides plenty of tools to help you create some gorgeous works of art. No, we didn’t manage to create anything especially artful ourselves, but we really enjoyed how detailed some of the visual effects are – with thicker layers of paint glistening in the light and thinner layers appearing almost transparent. With a knack for painting, or a bit of practice, this can be a pretty serious toolbox for creating art – without all the mess and supply runs that come with it.
Painting VR, with its different tools and color (mixing) options can be used to create fantastic works of art – we’ve even seen someone recreate the Mona Lisa in great detail using the tool. That’s not going to be for everyone though, but even if you don’t feel like an artist this is a still a great way to get creative.