An odd yet not uncommon occurrence on the Gear VR, sequels are already beginning to litter the Oculus Home store. Despite the consumer edition of the device having been available for less than a month, Climax Studios’ Bandit Six, OZWE’s Anshar Wars and now Coatsink’s Esper have all seen second instalments. Thankfully these selection of titles are some of the best available for mobile virtual reality (VR) gamers, and all 3 sequels have performed admirably in building on the strengths of their predecessors.
Esper 2 plays along the same path as it’s predecessor, ably hinting at your previous activities without demanding that the player having experienced the original. The voice actor of the original returns with the player once again cast as a telekinetic lab rat, informed that their actions at the end of the original Esper were less than encouraging and, now, more powerful telekinetics have been discovered. As with the original title the storyline evolves with more than its fair share of dry humour and snide remarks, pulling the player through the puzzling experience with more value than just it’s logic challenges.
It’s these challenges that once again form the crux of the Esper experience. No longer limited to a single room, the player is invited to journey through their host research facility and take part in a much wider variety of puzzles. While many challenges still remain in the 90 degree spectrum of the original, many now expand far beyond and have the player utilising their full 180 degree forward-facing field-of-view. Moreover, weight and distance challenges are far more prevalent, as well as new obstacles, obfuscation, occlusion, obstructions.
The variety of challenges in Esper 2 far exceeds that of the original title. While the formula remains largely the same the addition of new ideas and challenges is more than enough to warrant giving Esper a second look. It’s more than a simple expansion on the gameplay, and wrapped in the polished coat of high quality visual design and commendable voice acting Esper 2 is arguably one of the most entertaining videogame experiences yet available for Gear VR.
That polish is something that Coatsink has clearly invested a lot in. Esper 2 makes the most of the limited technical capabilities of its host format, offering both a visual and aural treat. The variety of locales and density of their detail is far greater than that of the original Esper; even in just the first few minutes of gameplay it outstrips the original by far. The return of the original voice actor is welcome, but in addition comes a small contingent of popular British actors lending their vocal talents to the videogame, and, for the most part, their inclusion is truly of benefit to the enjoyment of Esper 2.
The original Esper stood apart from the competition as a unique and interesting examination of logical puzzling gameplay on Gear VR, and Esper 2 improves on the original in every way. It’s both entertaining and challenging, visually arresting and humorous in the delivery of its dialogue. It’s also a much lengthier videogame than the original, with a wider variety of puzzles and more challenging gameplay. Of course, if the original Esper‘s puzzling gameplay didn’t grab you Esper 2 is unlikely to do so either, but for the vast majority of Gear VR gamers who quickly warmed to Coatsink’s charmingly British affair this sequel is practically unmissable.