One of the great aspects of indie virtual reality (VR) developers is their desire to try something new, experimenting and being innovative to make themselves stand out from an ever-growing crowd. Fast Travel Games made an impression last year with the release of Apex Construct, a finely crafted bow-wielding adventure. At Gamescom last week the studio returned to the event with something slightly different in hand, a cute puzzle experience called The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets.
Featuring a storybook style narrative where you venture to different worlds from your childhood, guided by the voice of your grandfather, the demo offered the first level a brief taster. An interactive diorama, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets offers players a floating island which needs to be carefully explored and investigated to complete the various puzzles.
With a delightful artistic design, the studio has chosen stop-motion animation to bring these worlds to life. This gives The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets a playful, child TV show quality to the proceedings which continue to the puzzles and even your hands – which just so happen to be dandelion flower heads.
The task is to find three pets hidden in the level, which can be spun around simply by grabbing it. As well as the pets there are several glowing treasures to find to fully complete the area. Quite a lot of the objects are interactive so it’s a case of picking, pulling, shaking and grabbing whatever you can to find these pets.
Each one was protected by a different difficulty level, with the easiest quickly found within a bush. The second was a little harder locked inside a treasure chest with three buttons to locate to unlock it. Third and finally, pet number three required making use of some environmental features, using a candle to boil a kettle making a lovely cup of tree tea in the process. This all makes for very hands-on gaming, like playing with Lego or building sandcastles. It’s all about getting stuck in and seeing what you can uncover.
Don’t expect a massively long experience here as there look to be five levels in total. The first took around 10 mins to complete so there might be an hour or so in the final build, great for those after a none stressful time killer. The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is very reminiscent of titles like Luna and Ghost Giant, playful and entirely happy to do its own thing.
Fast Travel Games isn’t going for hardcore puzzle gameplay here as you’d find in Gadgeteer or Transpose. The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is very much light in nature, easily suiting younger demographic learning about VR for the first time. A release is scheduled for later this year although no date has been set at the moment. The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets even made it onto VRFocus’ ‘Favourite VR Games From Gamescom 2019‘ list, highlighting the fact it did make VRFocus smile.