Review: The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
Delightful little puzzle dioramas, a shame there's not more.
It’s always nice when virtual reality (VR) developers really experiment and try something different and a bit left field, whether it works or not. These titles can quite often be the hidden gaming gems that don’t get all the attention and praise but are still worth your time and effort. Fast Travel Games’ The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets falls into this category.
Offering light puzzle gaming intertwined with a heartfelt story, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is like a Sunday afternoon family movie; there’s no stress involved just go with the flow and enjoy it.
Throughout the entire time, your character’s grandfather narrates as if reading you a story. But that story is about him, you and your sister, reminiscing about times past, adventures and quarrels, all the stuff family memories are made of. These memories then form the basis of each level, a singular floating island packed with puzzles themed on the beach, the grandfather’s home, even going back in time to the prehistoric era.
Each level is designed as on interactive diorama, with a vast majority of the items offering some sort of interaction. The goal (as the title suggests) is to find the stolen pets – which seem to be hiding more than stolen, there’s no nefarious element here – with three to find on the first level and then five on the rest. These can as simple as disturbing a bush to find a pet to completing a series of tasks to locate one of the little critters.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets seems very much inspired by children’s storybooks, from the art style and the storyline to the puzzles themselves. The gameplay is all about touch, picking things up to see what works and what doesn’t, spinning the world around so you can look and investigate every part of it. There’s a quality to the design much like Moss or Ghost Giant where you continually want to peer inside and look at this living miniature world. Also nice to see is the stop-motion animation of the main characters which perfectly compliments the experience.
Just because The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets has a childlike manner to it doesn’t mean to say all the puzzles are easy. Some of the later ones not only require some thought but also a keen investigative eye to spot various nuances. This goes doubly sure for the coins you can collect. Only a light glimmer reveals their location and they tend to be more prevalent than the pets.
Yet there is a downside to this wonderfully quirky title. For all its merits The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets still has that experimental side project feel to it. There are only five levels and you’ll probably complete those in around an hour. If you missed any coins you can always try to 100% the videogame yet there didn’t seem to be any use for the coins.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is a perfectly pleasant VR experience which features all the polish you’d expect from Fast Travel Games. If you have a child who’s really eager to try VR for the first time but you don’t want them jumping all over the place, damaging either equipment or themselves then this ideal. For everyone else, at the right price, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is still worth a pop, its a charming little VR experience.