Of late there’s been some decent puzzle-driven adventures arrive for virtual reality (VR) headsets, with the likes of Torn and Blind both offering their own unique mechanics and interwoven narratives. Fans of this genre may well remember FORM by Charm Games – one of VRFocus’ Best HTC Vive Games of 2017 – a surreal, sci-fi experience that marked the studio’s VR debut. Looking to emulate and expand upon that success, Charm Games has come up with Twilight Path, which does feel grander in vision yet lacks its forebears wow factor.
Once again Twilight Path is a somewhat bizarre and surreal, adventure. But rather than sci-fi, this time the team has gone down the road of fantasy, with spirits, dragons and magic to content with. You play an unnamed human who just so happens to wander into an oriental style bric-a-brac shop – a la Gremlins. Upon solving an initial puzzle you’re then whisked away to a spirit realm for reasons unknown, with your purpose now to find a way home.
Along this journey you actually have some company of sorts. A living anthropomorphic ferry called Barque, Singe his fiery companion and power source, plus Nix, a faerie navigator. While Barque provides you with a ride, and Singe with the odd bit of humorous dialogue, their actual use in Twilight Path is somewhat muted and barely explored, more like an addition to give the title some warmth. They don’t provide help on puzzles, merely filling in parts of the story, while Nix does offer a touch of help highlighting useful items to grab, never speaking a word.
On the subject of puzzles Twilight Path has an assortment of what can be best described as medium puzzles. What’s nice about them is the hands-on nature of most of them. Physically moving sliders and switches whilst using a magical gem on your wrist to see hidden artefacts. It provides a solid, robust sense of interaction to the whole experience. On the other hand their difficulty isn’t high, so there’s very little likelihood of getting stuck at any point.
And the similarities with FORM are easy to spot, from the inclusion of musical puzzles to arranging magical stones into correct patterns, the ideas have been repurposed with a new skin. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but what should’ve been a puzzle experience that went even bigger and better than before just hasn’t. And much like most of the beautiful pastel/watercolour environments the core gameplay seems watered down and too simplified.
As mentioned this is a magical spirit realm, with fantastical inhabitants and otherworldly powers. Yet there are only two to hand. The wrist mounted gem to see glowing connection paths, and what can be described as an advanced grab function. Holding both triggers brings up a ying and yang motif. Once they align letting go brings up two cursors which can highlight far off objects like the flags which help teleport you around each area. Unfortunately these cursors aren’t directly connected to your hands like laser pointers, they do tend to waft around if you’re not careful, which can make aligning them with small distant objects a might frustrating.
Twilight Path was one videogame VRFocus was looking forward to but it didn’t quite deliver. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the experience, with a reasonable story intermingled with some straightforward fun puzzles. It just had no spark to its delivery, almost feeling like a step back from FORM. And Twilight Path’s fixed linear delivery doesn’t hold up as well against the far more free roaming nature of its rivals.