A surprise reveal at Oculus Connect 2, Hollywood, last month, Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure is a Gear VR videogame that is undeniably reminiscent of the cult classic Nintendo 64 title, Pokémon Snap. It’s bright, colourful and appealing, but it also has the potential to appeal far beyond the young demographic it’s twee visual design might suggest.
The player enters Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure‘s cartoonish world in first-person. Equipped with a camera the player must document the monsters living in this world, gaining additional points for securing action poses. The shots you can take are limited in number and the time a monster will stay in a specific pose varies, so while it may seem simple Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure has the potential to ramp up the challenge in later levels.
In the early stages available in VRFocus‘ preview build, the arena held just one monster who would dance around the environment and engage in various activities including reacting to interactive elements, should you choose to partake in them. The player is unable to move, and therefore capturing the picture you require is a matter of provoking the monster.
Should later levels add additional interactive elements and monsters – which would of course be the hope – Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure could well become a deep and interesting experience. Moving the player akin to Pokémon Snap would be a misguided design decision – the Gear VR’s lack of positional tracking could well induce simulator sickness in an experience such as this – but given the player has the opportunity to pan around each level in 360 degrees it’s certainly not a shortcoming.
Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure is one of the best looking Gear VR titles VRFocus has yet witnessed. Though simple, it’s bright palette and chunky character model design make for an exciting design that encompasses you in a believably abstract 360 degree world. It’s not a longshot to suggest that, should BlackRiver Studios push the envelope in terms of level design and monster variety, they could well have one of the best titles for shared family virtual reality (VR) experiences on the Gear VR.
It’s not currently known how far along in development Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure is, though the menu screen in the preview build suggested that the formula for content unlocking and multiple stages already exists. VRFocus is certainly in favour of Jake and Tess’ Finding Monsters Adventure arriving alongside the consumer version of the Gear VR hardware, or shortly thereafter, as it’s universal appeal is something sorely lacking from the format at present.