Canadian developer Charm Games arrived on the virtual reality (VR) scene in 2017 with its rather dark and mysterious puzzle experience FORM. Certainly one of VRFocus’ favourite puzzlers launched that year for Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, the team are back again with another thought provoking experience that moves away from sci-fi into a more surreal and magical world called Twilight Path.
Still early in development – VRFocus got a brief pre-alpha look – the demo took place at what seemed to be the very start of the videogame, detailing little pieces of information about the story. The narrative revolves around a human gaining magical powers, finding themselves transported to a mystical realm filled with spirits and other fantastical machinations.
If you’ve played FORM then there’s a straight up noticeable difference in style and direction with Twilight Path. The whole design is much more airy and relaxed, with subtle pastel shades, and open vistas once the Twilight realm has been reached. There’s also a very distinct flavour of the orient in the buildings, characters and other design aesthetics. It’s certainly very beautiful to look at and makes you wonder how elaborate the team have gone when creating this world.
Prior to this however the title starts in a far more mundane real world setting, a dimly lit street and an open door into an old Chinese shop of assorted items. Inside you find yourself at the shop counter with a large box in front of you – the first of several puzzles – that’s easy enough to open. Inside the box are several items, some of which are more secured than others, revealing a magical bracelet that can make a purple orb appear that’ll help you see what can’t be seen with normal eyes and eventually a potion that’ll grant you another ability.
Like many puzzle titles there’s some trial and error at play as Twilight Path currently offers not one hint about how to use each new found ability. This can of course led to initial frustration and plenty of button pressing as you try to figure out what the hell has happened or what has actually been unlocked.
The demo showcased two magic abilities, one designed for close up gameplay and puzzles (the purple orb) and a long distance spell which allowed manipulation over certain objects to make a path, or to move to a new location. Twilight Path has no local movement to speak of apart from teleporting between fixed locations. This can only be achieved once a puzzle has been completed, with a red flag indicating the point to navigate to.
At present it is fairly by the numbers ‘move here and solve this to continue’, but then it is an early part of the experience with plenty of development still ahead. Some of the puzzles couldn’t really be described as such, more just stop gaps as new characters are introduced in the journey.
Charm Games are certainly sticking to what they know best by creating a unique and novel puzzle experience that’s designed to enthral with a rich narrative and bold style. The studio may be taking a different creative route to FORM but its influence can still be found. By the looks of it Twilight Path is going in the right direction.