Coming off the back of the excellent Neverout, the bar has been raised for virtual reality (VR) puzzlers on Gear VR. Developer Setapp impressed with its gravity-shifting first-person experience in which players search for a way out of a series of rooms. With it still fresh in the mind, then, expectations are high for Escape Room VR from Evilport. This is another first-person challenge that may intrigue escapologists, but there’s far too little going on here to recommend it for now.
Escape Room VR currently has just one level, with more promised to be on the way. It sees you wake up in a mysterious room that you’ve never seen before, with both a door and window locked. It’s not long before an intercom sparks up and your captor informs you that, to get out, you’re going to have to solve a series of puzzles within the room in the space of 10 minutes. Should you not pass the test in time, then you’ll have to start over.
What’s best about Escape Room VR is its atmosphere, largely created through the voice acting and dialogue that, at best, parodies the lowest rent of exploitation movies. The protagonist’s thick accent makes for giddy laughs as he delivers stilted lines about discovering clues and struggling to find the answers.
It also employs a comfortable movement system, simply allowing players to slowly teleport from place to place by looking at the object they want to interact with and tapping the side of the Gear VR’s touchpad to move there. Though bland, the room itself also works well in VR, even if some of the notes you try to read come off as blurry.
That’s pretty much where the joy ends, however. To be blunt, Escape Room VR is overly simplistic with its puzzles to the point of redundancy. Getting to the end of the challenge is simply a matter of looking around the room, identifying an object that can either be used to unlock something else in the room or includes a code to open a draw. There’s one slightly challenging piece based on guessing a password, but the title telegraphs the answer straight away and then provides another hint in case it wasn’t immediately obvious. If you don’t complete the three or four challenges within the allotted time, you’ll simple start over, making this more of a frustration than anything else.
If Evilport can up its game with the next few levels of Escape Room VR and offer them for free, then the title could come together in the long run. For now, however, your money is better spent elsewhere.