Developer / Publisher – Flight School Studio / Project Flight School Inc
Price – US $14.99 / EU €14.99 / UK £11.99 / AU $19.95
Release Date – April 3rd, 2018
Control Method – 2 x Move Controllers
Play Type – Seated, Standing, Roomscale
Pro Patch – No
Digital Only – Yes
Reviewed on – PS4 Pro
The job simulator genre has been a staple in VR and has given us countless, comedic interpretations of being a line cook, food truck driver, or an auto mechanic and now we have a situation simulator in the form of Island Time VR. What’s that situation you ask? Well, it’s being stuck on an island after crashing your boat and it’s up to you to survive with what little means are at your disposal.
Like every other simulator out there, this is going to require 2 Move controllers and it’s up to you to grab whatever you can around you and figure out how best to use it. Every day you survive (like 4 or 5 minutes in game) yields a new crate with a few meagre supplies to get you through the next day. The tiny island you are on provides some resources in the form of bamboo sticks, coconuts, fish and a few other little items to discover. From here you use or combine items to make tools necessary to help you live; start a fire, build a spear or a few other odd choices that are humorous in their execution. On your left hand is a watch which displays how long you have survived and your current health, replenished by eating food. As you learn how the mechanics in Island Time work, you will die a lot, and most often in humorous fashion.
Cartoonish visuals are at play here, once again typical of the genre, and look super clean and polished. Every game starts off with you crashing your ship and winding up on the island. A very talkative crab named Carl greets you and proceeds to coach and comment on your survival skills. It’s a singular stage and the longer you survive, the more wackiness you will see. In my many plays, I saw a seagull get taken under water by a giant tentacle, a plane crash right before my eyes and a few other things I wont spoil here. I marveled as the sun rose and set and lighting effects in these moments impressed me.
The audio effects also stand out as matching the visual quality and fit perfectly with what is happening. Standing out is the crab who never shuts up and spouts constant praise and jabs at your successes and failures. It doesn’t take very long before you begin to hear the same things repeatedly, but the charm behind that crab won me over more often than not and I appreciated his company.
As I said, there is a heavy reliance on replaying the same game over and over and the 1st 10 minutes or so of each play basically play out the same. Make it past that point though and new items begin to show up on the island and as the game does little in the way of hand holding, it’s up to you to figure out how to use these new survival tools. There is reward for lasting a long while, but those 1st 10 minutes until you get that “new” items become a chore.
Besides that repetitious nature, my only real issue with the game is the room scale tracking that the PSVR is just not very good at. There is a click-turning here, so you can keep in-line of the PS4 cameras tracking, but it’s way to easy in Island Time to lose track of your position and I found myself constantly turning away from the camera and watched my hands go completely bonkers until I removed the headset and reset my position. An option or marker, like in Doom VFR, is desperately needed here to keep user centered and focused on survival, not real-world positioning. I also wouldn’t have minded a proper calibration mode in here as well as I was constantly hitting the limits of PSVR’s tracking, forcing me to either adjust my camera or back up further from the camera and reset my in-game position in the hopes I could than reach what was just out of grasp before.
Island Time thrives on repetition and learning from your mistakes. My first foray on the island lasted a whopping 50 seconds, but each time I played, I learned something new and lasted a little bit longer the next time. The longer you last, the more events you see and the more challenges you will face. In this regard, Island Time plays best with friends to switch off with, if not just to see who can survive the longest. With that said, while it is fun in short doses, Island Time still wears out its welcome relatively fast, and as every game starts off the same, the motivations to try more than once or twice in a play session lessens with every play. Still, it is fun and though very contained, has a ton of polish and charm that will win over most players.
What would I pay? It’s fun, but the content just feels to contained to warrant that price. Doubled down with the heavy reliance on repetition and I can’t help but feel that this would be better suited to be within the $5 to $10 price range,
Flight School Studio provided The VR Grid with a review code for this title and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that!