Publisher – Climax Studios Limited
Price – US $19.99 / EU €19.99 / UK £14.99 / AU $26.95
Release date – April 24, 2017
Move Support – No
Pro Patch – No
Digital only – Yes
Reviewed on – PS4 Pro
It’s time to get your ‘think’ on in this relatively unique twist on the escape room formula. Statik takes Dual Shock 4 immersion to a new level by locking your virtual hands together in an ever-changing puzzle box and tasks you to run through a series of acumen testing challenges that will make you feel very smart at times and ridiculously dumb at others.
This utilizes only the DS4 and for a few good reasons, 1) your hands match visual VR representation and 2) this uses every button available on the controller. The opening scene has you manipulating all the triggers, D-pad, Joysticks and buttons to get past the 1st puzzle. From then on, each level gives you a new box utilizing the buttons in whole new ways. This is a seated experience that only allows you to manipulate the box stuck to you and some environmental variables, though those are level/puzzle dependent.
I can’t stress that you need to love brain teasers to fully appreciate this game. Some levels I conquered quickly , figuring out which dials to turn, switches to move or just identifying the environmental clues needed to solve the current problem. Others, not so much, with me messing around for like 45 minutes, turning wheels or matching colors to no avail until the solution finally clicked. Some levels offer timed challenges, color matching or extracting clues from your surroundings to input into your box. It’s a puzzle solvers dream game, but I can see where the appeal may be lost on more than a few people.
There isn’t a lot of story here; you wake up and are greeted by Dr. Ingen, a scientist guy with a blurred-out face and a monotone, emotionless voice who vaguely explains what’s happening to you and your off. Each level expands upon the narrative and as the game progresses your companion opens up little by little with hilarious, level opening one liners (still told emotionlessly) and commentary on your efforts. It’s minimal for sure but traverse through the campaigns and you get a satisfying conclusion.
The game itself is very clean, almost sterile looking, at least at first. The action takes place directly in front of you so everything looks great. Further away stuff, of course, begin to look washed out, but in no way does that hamper the experience is the fault of VR, not the game. The levels change it up nicely and each one feels different from the last with some interlude weird floaty levels where you have to assemble a cube from a bunch of pieces unlocked as you complete stages.
The audio stands out as well as being very minimalist, but effective. Elevator music accompanies you throughout each level as well as your previously mentioned tester, who provides some amusing commentary. Every contraption attached to your box sounds authentic and the overall package just leaves you with that feeling that you are there. If you have ever played the ‘Esper’ series of games, this evokes a very similar gameplay and storytelling style.
There is a local multiplayer component here as well which allows 2 people to actively solve a puzzle. It’s a great little addition to main stories 8 levels, offering 3 more challenges, as long as you can find a friend.
From what I’ve heard, 1st runs run anywhere from 2 and half hour to 4 and up. I was definitely closer to the 4 hour mark being stumped for long periods until the ‘A-Ha!!’ moments hit me. This really comes down to 2 things, how much you like puzzles and how much patience you have, because this game will try it. If you are a patient puzzler than pick this up immediately, you may only play through once, but it challenges you like so few games do. For those of the more action oriented nature, it may be best to keep your distance, this game just wasn’t made for you.
What would I pay?$20 US is perfect. There has very little in the way of replay value, but it’s still a tonne of fun and that rewarding feeling of solving the unsolvable never gets old.