Being fairly new to VR gaming before grabbing a Quest at launch, I kept hearing Virtual Virtual Reality being recommended. Playing its trailers I thought it was going to be a nice looking puzzle game, yet having experienced the game through to the very end, in conclusion, it is something entirely unexpected and wildly different. V-VR is an experience that has had me swinging between my impressions, and it has generally made this review a difficult one to write.
V-VR is a narratively driven saterial adventure game about VR and AI. Taking place in a near future where AI has transformed society. As a human servant of Activitude – a Virtual Labor System – you aid the AI clients in fulfilling their desires by strapping on headsets and jumping between some very wild realities.
As the game kicks off, you soon meet your very upbeat Activitude manager, Chaz, who walks you through the experience and keeps you in check and performing your job at your best. After all, you wouldn’t want to let any AI clients down would you? Well, the good thing in V-VR is that, although there is an underlying storyline, you can pretty much do what you want here, you can even take your virtual headset off. Do anything bad, or against protocol, and you’ll be sent back to the lobby and be told to see to another client.
The bright, colourful and clean-looking world and its underlining storyline soon uncover a darker and sinister history. With tools at your disposal, you can reveal a darker world around you, and once this is known, you begin to deviate away from your ordered tasks and enter down a rabbit hole of many different paths to the story, as it begins to get deeper and even more twisted.
Because of how you navigate this game’s narrative, you can enter into so many different virtual experiences, most experiences are short in length, yet they can differ entirely based on your patience and your curiosity in seeing what you can do within them. This is, however, also V-VR’s downfall. Because of its experimental, almost sandbox, nature of its
Paying attention to what’s being said by the characters you meet or small visual clues in the world is crucial to smoothly progress this game’s story forward. Yet, because you can put so many headsets on and off to visit various experiences, the story soon becomes less linear and at times you don’t really know whether you’re progressing in the story or are you stuck in a loop, wondering if you have missed something that you have to do in order to move your progress forward. You are not handheld or shown your way much in this game, it’s purely down to experimenting and trial and error before you begin to move forward along the game’s storyline.
Visually, the game looks great and works really well on the Quest hardware. Manipulation of the game’s world with the Touch controllers are super easy and fun to do, and it’s developers had nailed putting the headsets on your own head, which feels highly intuitive and is a great way to seamlessly transition between realities.
The sound in the game supports the game’s visuals very well too, with some great, yet sometimes bizarre, vocal acting from its characters. Your virtual manager, Chaz, is also very funny and comes out with some regular laugh-out-loud moments.
Once the game is complete, you will still question if you actually have done so. And that pretty much sums up the game as a whole. It is definitely a Marmite kind of game. Some will get it, some will not. If you jump in thinking it is one game, and you get delivered something else, you do get a little frustrated, to a point where some people might just give up entirely and not witness the big dark reveal under this shiny exterior – and this would be a tragic shame.
Retailing for £10.99 from the Oculus Store, Virtual Virtual Reality is a short 2-4 hour game that I feel you have to be prepared for before you enter into its wild, creepy and satirical world. If you don’t like to be poking around to pick up the next thread of the story, then this game might not be for you. However, if you know what you are going into, you’ll have a great time, with a story that is as familiar as playing Valve’s hit game Portal and a satirical experience that is as if it has been created by the cast of Monty Python.