Chinese publisher Oasis Games has an ever growing line-up of virtual reality (VR) content – mainly for PlayStation VR – having released Ace Banana, Weeping Doll, Dying: Reborn, Pixel Gear and Mixip. These haven’t necessarily all been well received, getting mixed feedback from consumers and media alike. Soon the publisher will be releasing its next experience, a puzzle-platformer called Light Tracer which is shaping up to be an inventive little project.
Debuting Light Tracer for the first time at Gamescom 2017 this month, the videogame is a quirky take on guiding a character through a hostile virtual world that isn’t so much expansive as it is lofty. Demoed on the PlayStation VR – which sees a release in September with a HTC Vive version coming later – using PlayStation Move, the right controller takes care of most of the character actions while the left controller alters your viewpoint on the world.
As the name kind of implies, the right controller fires a beam of light that the character then follows, guiding her around obstacles, jumping gaps and collecting coins. You don’t mark out a path which is then kept to, instead you tell her when to run or stop by pulling the trigger. Get this wrong and she falls of the edge and its back to the start point – or checkpoint if far enough.
The actual mechanics work really well, giving you plenty to concentrate on between guiding the light beam – as you can move it quite far ahead – the girl, and keeping the best viewpoint to keep an eye on everything. As mentioned the left controller moves the entire level about. Yes it’s a VR videogame so you can move in and lean about to get a good look, as the title is all about ascending through the world this still needs to be adjusted – spun around, brought higher or lower – as needed.
The demo featured the first area, giving a brief run through of controls and some basic puzzles. These involved not only guiding the character around obstacles but also directly interacting with them. So this would involve grabbing moveable platforms or picking up an item to place on a switch. Pretty simple stuff, then again it’s only the first level. Light Tracer might be one of those titles that’s great for speedrunners, using one hand to guide while the other continually moves the environment.
It’s not all sweetness and light though. Light Tracer does have enemies to deal with. Oasis Games has stated the girl – she’s actually a princess trying to save her people – will be armed with a sword in the latter stages, for the first level on the other hand it’s all about avoidance, even when it comes to the boss. Here it’s a case of activating environmental barriers to deflect incoming projectiles back at the beast.
From this first glance Light Tracer looks promising. Rather than going for full scale immersive environments Oasis Games as gone for a tabletop style design, one that’s worked very well for titles such as Augmented Empire, Siegecraft: Commander or Pinball FX2 VR. The gameplay mechanics offer enough possibilities for level variation and challenge that Light Tracer could be worth a purchase.