The horrors unfolding in-game aren’t the most scary thing about the game - the limitations of the hardware however were frightful, meaning that the game is just two analogue sticks away from being a must-own title for VR players. Sadly, the things that let Layers of Fear VR down are outside the control of the developers, but if you power through the technical issues, you’ll find a game that gives a satisfactory return on your investment just on the story alone.
Save for the few scenes that don’t gel together and the middle portion of the 'film', Erica is a fantastic experience that will have you gripped across multiple playthroughs. The cast, in particular Holly Earl as our lead Erica Mason, deliver top end performances throughout and the game doesn’t impose too many pointless decisions in order to constantly drive the story forward. All of this is even more impressive when you consider how many different twists and turns you can take with each playthrough.
It’s just unfortunate that for every improvement Revenants has made, so comes a consequence which hinders it. Yes, battles now require more skill than button bashing, but the sheer amount of time spent slogging away hampered my enjoyment considerably. Driving the narrative by talking to people midway through battles is a welcome change but.it is instantly counteracted because a short window in which to make important plot decisions is simply not enough time. Too often you vote on a subject without having the full story, and the outcome isn’t what you would have aimed for.
Underneath the fan service and incessant yammering during battles, you have a mindless, fun dungeon crawler that’s full of wit and charm. Yes, the environments and plot are stale and it can feel like a slog at times, but the self-awareness and comedy of the script acknowledges these issues constantly. This is perhaps why I kept playing. It may feel like a cheap solution to acknowledge your flaws so brazenly without attempting to fix them, but for the most part, I have to admit that it works. Overall, I’d say that, in spite of the repetitive levels, the gorgeous art style and the characters are enough to keep you invested until the final credits roll.
The beautiful story takes you on a sizable journey despite the short run time; it had me engrossed and packed a punch on more than one occasion. The choices made at key moments in the game felt meaningful for both Sid’s life as well as my own. Regrettably, the technical limitations hold the game back in a significant way and keep Frostwood Interactive from realising their vision for the game. When these issues are fixed, and I’m sure they will be, I would have no problem increasing the score.
Inside such a compact game, you have humour and ridiculous situations that are fun to play. Characters are well voiced and the stupid requests hit home on a personal level. Unfortunately, being restricted to an on-rails experience that lasts only a few hours hampers the enjoyment, but it is rather fun while it lasts. It’s just a shame it couldn’t stick around longer.
Magic Twins is a fun and cute arcade puzzle game. You might be eased in but the challenge soon ramps up, especially in solo mode but playing with a buddy took the experience to another level. I can’t stress enough that teaming up with a friend is an absolute must. Puzzles become more fun and there’s a sense of achievement when you both work together to clear a stage. It’s a shame there isn’t an online mode for virtual team-ups but the charm of Abra and Cadabra always seemed to pull me back for one more go, no matter how difficult the game became.
It’s how a video game should be - it's never too difficult and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. The fourth wall breaks and callbacks to other chapters had me laughing out loud. The surreal nature of the plot and presentation won’t appeal to everyone, but for someone who loves the stranger side of life, this will be right up your street. It certainly lives up to the Twin Peaks-meets-Zelda description and then some.
Rhythm Fighter might only have five levels but it puts up one hell of a fight. It requires multiple playthroughs before you get to make serious progress. Due to the randomly generated levels and well-paced upgrade system, this never feels like a chore and the character designs are so charming you can’t help but come back for more. The difficulty in the later levels can be tough, especially if you’re only just starting out, but the game encourages you to get better rather than demoralising you. For me, Rhythm Fighter is one of those “just one more go” games and a rather enjoyable one at that.