Having released action strategy title Zombie Grenades Practice last month for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows Mixed Reality, indie developer ARVI is back again with a very different style of videogame. Instead of explosions, zombies and the need for a powerful PC, ARVI has created simple puzzle experience called Laser Puzzle in VR, which doesn’t have the frills of Zombie Grenades Practice for a far more focused and enjoyable puzzler.
As the name suggests Laser Puzzle in VR is all about controlling beams of light – similar to titles like The Talos Principle or Symphony of the Machine. Whereas those videogames require the use of depth, having to look in and around for the best possible solution, Laser Puzzle in VR is purely wall-based. This doesn’t detract from the actual mechanics or difficulty however.
The best puzzle titles are brilliantly simple in premise yet highly challenging when they get going and Laser Puzzle in VR certainly leans towards that process. Each level takes place in its own room – a sci-fi space station for some reason – and upon completion a door opens into the next challenge. There’s a grid-based structure on the left-hand wall made up of laser emitters and cubes with a ball inside. When placed in front of a beam the sphere inside the cube will reflect it, with the idea being to get the laser on a panel which will illuminate and unlock the door.
Things start to get tricky when multiple beams, multiple goals, and immovable cubes are introduced. The latter levels even become so expansive that they extend onto a second wall. So all you need to do is arrange the allotted moveable cubes in a way that all the goals are illuminated, this can sometimes require all or some of the available cubes.
What’s nice about Laser Puzzle in VR is its bare bones style. There’s no intro or tutorial to help ease you in (it really doesn’t need it), just use the touchpad (reviewed using HTC Vive) to teleport around and the trigger to pick things up. There’s not really much to go wrong. Depending on the space you have available the roomscale functionality works fine, as you’re able to wander up and down inspecting the puzzle for ideas when you’re stuck.
Laser Puzzle in VR doesn’t feature any high scores or stars to unlock, the puzzles just don’t work that way, which is one avenue developers use to extend single-player puzzlers for extra longevity. Yet Laser Puzzle isn’t going to be one of those videogames you’ll complete quickly. ARVI has included a rather substantial 72 levels, and as mentioned some take up quite a bit of space.
Laser Puzzle in VR is certainly one for the VR puzzle aficionados. It’s got a decent amount of content and the difficulty level ramps up at a steady pace that you shouldn’t get too stuck until later on. Yes the design is sparse but at least it works in a min spec PC so everyone can enjoy it. Considering ARVI’s VR titles released so far, Laser Puzzle in VR is probably the best.