Review: Lila’s Tale
Great for younger players but won’t hold the interest of seasoned VR enthusiasts.
Mobile virtual reality (VR) may not be seen as the most immersive form of the technology, instead it offers accessibility, the ability to reach a wider audience thanks to a much lower entry price point. Yet there are developers doing wonderful things with mobile VR, whether that’s Coatsink with Augmented Empire or Pillow’s Willow VR Studios and Spark of Light. In a similar vein to the latter, Skullfish Studios has launched an enjoyable little puzzler called Lila’s Tale for Oculus Go (reviewed) and Gear VR.
Lila’s Tale is a cylindrical puzzler where you roam dungeons looking for the way out. You play titular character Lila, who has lost her brother inside these dark and dank cold walls, and you need to find him before leaving.
To do so involves solving a few puzzles, mostly fairly easy but it does get a little trickier later on. Sat right in the middle of the dungeon you can see all the way around, and these puzzles generally involve you working out how to get to the chest, which contains the key to unlock the next level. Controlling Lila is as simple as looking, with all her movements controlled by your gaze. While the interactive puzzles require you to use the Oculus Go controller to join several dots together.
These dot puzzles aren’t particularly difficult and don’t involve much thought other than when time is pressed against a boss, or when some of the spike walls need a certain node hit several times. The difficulty comes when you need to manipulate the later levels, keeping an eye on which section is moving where, gaining or losing you access accordingly.
It’s effectively stuff for a mobile VR experience and definitely one that requires a good ol’ spinning chair to properly keep track of everything. Having gaze-based movement does have its pitfalls, when looking around Lila may run where you don’t want her to – usually straight into an enemy – which can lead to death if you’re not careful.
What’s consistently surprising about mobile VR titles is the depth and richness of the visuals developers manage to squeeze out of these devices and Lila’s Tale is no different. With a watercolour style aesthetic the videogame is vibrant and compelling, with wonderful looking characters and 2D cut scenes.
Lila’s Tale is a quaint VR experience which will enthral a younger player but older gamers will likely find the title to be a little hollow. With nine levels to play through and the challenge on really setting in after five or six, game time is going to be short and sweet. But with no secrets to find, the replay factor is limited. Not an essential purchase for Oculus Go, there are others in this genre that are better.