Developer / Publisher – Steel Minions Studio
Price – US $N/A / EU €3.99 / UK £3.29 / AU $5.95
Release date – July 31st, 2018
Control Method – DS4
Pro Support –No
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – PS4 Pro
As much as I love innovation in VR and playing games in an all new way, I still enjoy playing classic games ported over to VR. What I really love though is a merging of innovation and classic gameplay that makes for a fresh VR experience that still feels very familiar. PieceFall VR aims to reinvent the classic Tetris formula by not only changing the way you place pieces but adding new dimensions to increase the challenge.
With your DS4, manipulating the shapes is handled by either trigger button and the joysticks. Left/Right, Up/Down and moving them above a predetermined shape as your pieces slowly fall to the ground is the name of the game here with the shapes also having one half of them colored to match the surrounding area meaning you can place your shapes upside down and fail that puzzle. Each stage has a bunch of separate puzzles with each level getting more and more complicated. Initially, you must place 1 piece into the corresponding shape which is grade school easy. Even just adding a second shape to the mix, thus increasing the size of the area you must properly fill, adds to the challenge. As you progress more shapes get added to the play area with the puzzles becoming very complicated and waaaaaaay harder then they look. Each stage completed gives you points toward a high score, which can be spent on hints should you fail a few to many times at a puzzle. As the goal is to get a high score through 1 playthrough, it’s a nice mechanic to separate the smart folk and the not-quite as smart folk.
Each stage has relatively common themes with grass lands or stony ruins with each stage having a central building or structure that gets built as you complete the puzzles. Each stage is small floating island and the visuals just give off a very serene look. The pieces come in the classic Tetris shapes that we all know and love and while nothing here looks incredibly mind blowing, it all works great at keeping the entire vibe of the game mellow.
The music that plays in the back ground is almost inaudible, but when you do notice it you can’t help but enjoy the very relaxing tunes. Other effects occur as you solve the puzzles and those structures are formed, but the game never gets aggressive in any way and plays like a puzzle game with an emphasis on being peaceful….OH! I just got it!
While the pieces do fall at a set pace, I never felt rushed and even when the puzzles do get hard, you are only dealing with a handful of pieces so restarting barely takes any time at all. The simplicity belies just how complicated these puzzles can get and while your shapes do move down at a very slow pace, having to make sure they are upright, while still planning your next few moves can get a tad panicky, but the games vibe really is so chill, that panic quickly fades away with the next piece or a restart. There is a limited amount of stages here and playing through all of them took me roughly an hour to play through using 4 hints during that time. I will say that by the end of my playthrough, after looking down for 45 minutes, my neck did feel a little soar.
PieceFall is a short romp in VR that definitely doesn’t overstay it’s welcome. The only reason to replay is beat your own score and crush the levels as fast as you can without using any clues should you care about such things. This twist on the falling block genre works great in VR and for those looking to see if your brain is still working, this should do just that!
What would I pay? This is $4 and worth every penny. It’s a short simple Tetris-like puzzle game that is made better in VR
Steel Minions Studios provided The VR Grid with a review code for this game and, regardless of this review, we thank them for that