Preview: The Invisible Hours – A VR Murder Mystery
Somewhere between a videogame and a movie lies Tequila Works’ latest title.
Tequila Works is a studio that shot to fame with the hugely successful Deadlight back in 2012. The output from small studio has since been relatively slow, but with three new titles this year – The Sexy Brutale, Rime and the virtual reality (VR) exclusive The Invisible Hours – Tequila Works looks set to cash-in on the kudos earned from such a well received debut.
‘Cash-in’ is a term that may be taken with negative connotations, but in the case of Tequila Works its born of a deserved worth. Both The Sexy Brutale and Rime received high praise upon release thanks to their innovation within existing genre formulae, and The Invisible Hours is taking this a step even further. Billed as ‘immersive theatre’, The Invisible Hours is essentially a murder mystery wherein the player must determine the culprit.
In the first chapter available for VRFocus’s hands-on preview, the player is introduced to the key characters and given some background story before the murder scene is discovered and the suspects invited into the story. It’s advisable to play through at least this much of the chapter before experimenting with the varied time manipulation mechanics at your disposal.
The player has the ability to speed-up time, slowdown or pause. This allows a scene being revisited to be skipped to a point in which the player believes they may have previously missed a clue. At any point during the action the player can exit to the ‘theatre’ and choose to replay a previous scene. This will become a crucial element of your investigation as you analyse characters and their relationships to each other, their reactions and their potential motives.
The player can teleport anywhere around a scene (with controls similar to Robo Recall) and inspect various items; some which may be relevant to the case, others which are simply red herrings. The player is also able to follow specific characters as they go about their business, potentially uncovering some secrets that they wish to remain hidden from other visitors to the mansion in which the action takes place.
This initial taste of The Invisible Hours is an intriguing presentation for what lies ahead. As with Tequila Works’ other videogame titles, The Invisible Hours is an inventive take not just on a genre, but for the VR medium; there simply is nothing else like it available for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive or PlayStation VR. VRFocus can’t wait to see whether The Invisible Hours can sustain a full experience in the final release as promised by this inventive opening.