Preview: In&Out – Keeping the Party Going With Some Social VR
Oculus Go’s local VR multiplayer expands to a second screen.
Virtual reality (VR) has long fought the stigma of an isolating videogame experience, whether that’s been via online multiplayer, social apps that enable users to talk to each other’s avatar, or on the local side more inventive solutions like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (a VRFocus favourite). Indie Polish developer Underdogz looks to add its own unique take on the VR party game with In&Out for Oculus Go.
Instead of printing reams of paper into a manual, Underdogz has gone for the technically superior smartphone app. The idea revolves around the VR player being a secret agent who needs to infiltrate a secret facility. The only downside, they have no idea where the traps are located or how to solve the puzzles in front of them. So in comes a mate with the smartphone app showing an overhead map view plus details of how to complete each puzzle.
Just like any of these types of videogame communication is key, if the VR player doesn’t accurately describe where they are and what they’re seeing then it can be much more difficult for their teammate to help. That being said, sometimes no matter how much information is given if the non-VR player(s) is a bit on the useless side then all hell breaks loose and death becomes inevitable.
In&Out’s design is simple and definitely mobile friendly, with big bold designs, a rich colour palette and minimal textures. This simplicity certainly helps when describing the layout to the other person as too much would over complicate the scenario and lead to all sorts of confusion. What also helps is if you’ve been on either side of the gameplay as both players are seeing almost different worlds. As mentioned the app is top down for the map, so describing a chair is irrelevant as it’s probably not featured, but where you walked into a room and the other doors will be. Also worth noting is that the app doesn’t mark the VR players location like the app for The Persistence.
Being an Oculus Go title the control scheme couldn’t be simpler. With the trigger for interaction whilst the touchpad controls forward and backward movement all you need is a reasonable area to turn around in. The touchpad does feature both walk and run options depending on how far up the touchpad you press. The gap between the two is very minimal so it can be easy to run into a laser or get vaporised by a force field if you’re not careful.
The puzzles themselves which VRFocus came across are a mixture of finding the right component for a circuit board, missing floor traps, cutting correct wires and dashing out the way of lasers. Nothing to brain teasing at this stage but Underdogz are still reasonably early in development.
Gamescom 2018 didn’t particularly feature many mobile VR titles which was a shame considering Oculus Go only arrived a few short months ago. It was nice to see Underdogz not only flying the mobile VR flag but also the local VR multiplayer genre which is one of the best for showcasing the technology to family and friends. There was plenty to enjoy with In&Out, with VRFocus keen to see how the experience turns out.