Preview: Lola and the Giant – A Little Adventure With A Lot Of Heart
It's nice but it needs work...
Climax Studios’ previous virtual reality (VR) titles like Bandit Six, Gun Sight and Hunters Gate , are all gun toting action romps, with the first two for Gear VR and the latter on Google Daydream. The studio is going for a somewhat different tact with its next Daydream project, a quaint little adventure called Lola and the Giant.
Set in a magical land, Lola and the Giant aims to take players on a fairytale journey when Lola meets a lonely stone giant who then helps her look for a way home. At its core Lola and the Giant is a puzzle quest, requiring the two to work together – mainly the giant aiding Lola – as the main gameplay mechanic.
The demo the studio had available featured the two characters inside some caverns, with Lola trying to make her way across several rocky walkways. As it’s mainly a third-person adventure you control Lola through a point and click method. Swiping across the Daydream’s control pad sets Lola off on a run, she can then be directed with a cursor wherever you wish, with the camera following at a gentle pace providing a decent viewpoint.
When running around should Lola come to a gap she can jump she does so automatically, there’s no pinpoint platform jumping in the videogame. If it’s a gap she can’t traverse then its time for the big man. This is where Lola and the Giant switches up the viewpoint for a first-person offering – this was the same all the way though the demo. The giant can then perform a variety of actions depending on what’s needed – for this point in the title it was moving or removing rocks to the correct position.
None of these puzzles provided any sort of challenge, seemingly designed to offer a way of learning the control methods needed later on. But Lola and the Giant feels much more of a lighthearted journey than some hardcore puzzler which will have you wracking your brain for ages, this is definitely a family orientated experience. Which will certainly attract a wider scope of player to the videogame and possibly the headset, although experience VR players may find it somewhat lacking.
This being an early version of the project there were naturally some issues that arrived whilst playing. Firstly Lola and the Giant crashed, which can be a jarring experience for anyone in VR, even for those more experienced with the medium. Then there were some controller problems, menu selection suddenly became temperamental, and trying to guide Lola was a little erratic. If this were the final build then serious questions would have to be asked, but as an early stage demonstration these are technical glitches that will hopefully be overcome, especially since Climax Studios’ past titles have performed well.
While there was some roughness to Lola and the Giant there was no mistaking a certain charm to the experience. It’s good to see Climax Studios branching out, showing that not all VR videogames need guns. If this becomes as polished as the studio’s other titles then Daydream owners should have something to look forward to.