Developer / Publisher – Noowanda
Price – US $11.99 / EU €N/A / UK £N/A / AU $N/A
Release date – November 7th, 2017
Control Method – Dual Shock 4
Pro Patch – No
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – PS4 Pro
Virtual Reality has given me new appreciation for genres I would otherwise care less about. Driving and flight games were genres I never hated, but never loved or bothered with unless they were more ‘arcadey’ in nature. VR has also given me new appreciation for social experiences and rhythm games. In fact, outside of some very niche genres, VR has breathed life into game types i thought dead to me and I was hoping Discovery would do the same with the ‘Open world, endless creation’ genre but sadly, I’m still left wondering what all the fuss is about.
Controls are currently only handled with the DS4(though move support is in the works) and is really intuitive. Looking at your controller in VR and seeing all the buttons labelled with their action is great and makes for an easier time when your trying to switch between items. Your Trigger buttons destroy or place the block space you are looking at, so you can build or demolish to your hearts content. Navigation is a bit more sticky as free walking is available, but suuuuuper slow with no option to change. This also plagues the flight side of things as well and I really hope the devs put in a speed slider for us VR veterans who are afraid of a little speed. Click turning is also the option currently available and overall I was just unhappy with the control limitations offered.
You can build just about anything you want with a plethora of options from various types walls; wood, brick, stone…the list goes on and on. In fact their are a whole bunch of creative choices to basically make whatever comes to mind. The ability to fly, though slow, allows for different point of view to ensure whatever you are building looks as it should. You can change color palettes, add in a host of more random options (power switches,warp tubes, light balls, letters…) and your options for creative builds are vast. In this regard, the game is effectively endless, provided you have the motivation to challenge your block building skills and see just what kind of madness you can bring to virtual life. Online co-op is also available for those looking to build with buddies and see if 2(to 4) minds are truly better than one.
I liked the art style here, especially compared with it’s largest competitor Minecraft. Blocks and items just carry a little more detail that brought more life to my creations. Add in a beautiful sky with some stellar lighting effects and the visuals, at times, really pop. Seriously, throw some torches down and look at the shadows, they are top notch. The day and night cycle also looks good thanks to the lighting effects and makes the world feel alive. Animals also look more realistic and though they are few, also bring life to this blocky world. In fact, the world is procedurally generated so if for some reason you want to just make a massive world, just keep pushing back that edge fog to give yourself some more creative space.
The music here is melodic and 100% inoffensive and fits with the laid-back nature of creating at your won pace. It is odd when the track finishes and you are left with silence for 20 seconds or so before it kicks back in again, but that’s a minor annoyance. Other more minute sounds like destroying blocks, or exploding them sound as they should and work in the games favor.
That’s really about it, this a sandbox game with no instructions, obstacles or external challenges, just build. The controls definitely need a VR update with some increased speed and smooth turning to make for a more streamlined experience. The day and night cycles are nice, but in all honesty, without the threat of anything during night, it just gets in the way of building as it’s just harder to see than during the daytime. But overall the game is really solid and will provide endless hours provided you can get around the fact that the entire game I based entirely upon your creativity. I personally spent my 1st hour just messing around and was incredibly underwhelmed. I took a break, came back with a different mindset and began to build. After an hour or so of creating my pseudo-castle, I stopped, looked at it and was happy with my progress, stared for another minute and decided it would be more fun to blow it up than continue building…and so I did!
I’ve learned this about myself from this game, I need a goal or a reason to do something besides my own personal motivations to do so. All the creation aspects of this are phenomenal really, but without a purpose (ie. defend against creatures) I’m left with little motivations to build anything and just found myself getting bored very quickly. My plans were to spend a lot more time in here than I actually did and if you are like me than I highly doubt this will change your mind about this style of game. That said, if creating, and sharing your own virtual world appeals to you than this is sure to scratch that itch and will probably keep you entertained for an endless amount of time.
What would I pay? In all honesty, this is easily worth the $12 asking price provided you have any interest in molding this blocky world to your own designs. For everybody else though, if you didn’t like these types of games before VR, you’re not going to care for them anymore in VR.
Noowanda provided theVRgrid.com with a review code for this game and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!