I began my modern VR experience with a Cardboard-like device and when it was all that I knew, I was blown away by it. I showed it to everyone, and I used it constantly. I went from that to the Rift DK2 and it didn’t take long before I just never used my old glued together foamboard anymore because the games just didn’t hold up. When I got the Gear VR I figured my Cardboard days were long behind me. But every once in a while I would go check the Play store to see if there was anything decent. Most of the time I was disappointed. But on the odd occasion I would find a game that was good in spite of the limitations that Cardboard puts on VR. This is a new series about games I find that I think would be a good fit if translated to Gear VR.
VR Fantasy is a great little game that I discovered the other day while browsing the Google Play Store. I thought that it looked decent so I downloaded it and gave it a shot. In fact, it was better than I was expecting. I’ve downloaded my fair share of titles that looked good in the store images only to find that they were nearly unplayable, or nothing more than a collections of purchased assets that you can walk around and look at but do nothing else. In spite of what it looked like I was prepared for more of that when I downloaded VR Fantasy. Instead I was pleasantly surprised to find a short, but enjoyable experience.
It has the hand painted graphics that a lot of Gear VR games have, and I think that’s fantastic. Those graphics aren’t overly taxing on the hardware and they look great. I think that someday we will look back with nostalgia on these textures as a distinctly Gear VR style in the same way that the Nintendo 64 has a distinct look. I mentioned purchased assets above and every time I see these textures I assume that they are purchased, but even if they are, that’s fine. They are well used here if they are.
You begin the game without a weapon and your first task is to find one. There is only one way to go and you find your weapon there. This is the sort of difficulty that you get out of the puzzles but it’s hard to say how much of that is due to limitations of the Carboard and also to the fact that many, if not most, of the target audience are playing this game without a controller and using a headset that they have to hold up to their eyes. Obviously the difficulty would have to be increased if the developers decided to make the jump.
One thing that I think is done very well as is in VR Fantasy are the enemy encounters. It would be nice if it took a bit more to kill the enemies, but there are plenty of them. There are only two different kinds, a green blob that hops toward you and a plant with a mouth the shoots fireballs at you. But you encounter them quite regularly and dispatching them gives you something to do as you explore the dungeon/maze that you are in.
A neat mechanic that is sadly not used very much in the game is the way you replenish your magic. It will fill slowly on its own, and you can use potions. But if you are outside, or at a place where there is a hole in the ceiling and you can see the moon, looking up at it will fill your magic.
What you get when you download VR Fantasy is only a taste of what I would like to see on the Gear VR. It is only one stage that takes somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty minutes to beat, maybe less and there are no difficult puzzles. If ported to the Gear VR I would most like to see the game expanded. What they have here could serve as a tutorial level and then the real game begins. One with decently complex puzzles, more magic, more weapons and harder enemies. But the level that they have made already is really nice to look at and the game plays very well, even if it is a little sparse. The good news is, according to the description on the Play Store, the developer, Chibig, plans to continue expanding the game.
If you like what you see in the video below and you would like to follow the development of the game, or encourage the developers to port the game to the Gear VR you can find their Facebook page here