‘The Haunted Graveyard’ (VR) Review

The Haunted Graveyard is a short walking-only VR experience that will leave players feeling creeped out or mesmerized by its delightfully kooky characters and Disneyworld’ish dark-ride style presentation.

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Innerspace VR Announces ‘Maskmaker’

Innerspace VR has already won my respect with their previous game, a Fisherman’s Tale. It was a really cute puzzle game that grew more weird and trippy as players went further into the story. It was from the street cred from their last game that I’m so confident I’ll enjoy their next game, Maskmaker. My first move after reading about its announcement was literally to add it to my Steam wishlist.

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‘Fujii’ VR Review

I just played Fujii for Oculus Rift S and my goodness I loved it. Funktronic Labs have created this beautiful adventure through a series of different islands with totally different ecosystems. It’s musically brilliant as well, everything reacts to what we touch or move near, creating a beautiful organic feeling soundtrack – like a walk through some very musically inclined forest. It doesn’t take long to realize how dang attractive the game is either, with levels starting off practically in darkness, with light rippling from the player character, giving glimpses of the levels ahead. We make your way through each island by playing with the plants and animals on the paths forward, unlocking more nonlinear paths as we progress. Some will lead back to the start point, some will lead to the seeds we are supposed to collect. It will always be a very pretty trip.

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‘Tacoma’ Review

Tacoma does everything it sets out to do with adequate success. In my opinion, this general “pretty good I guess” feel to the game is high praise for a game in the walking sim genre, a category of games that has received such friction from general gaming culture that Tacoma’s predecessor, Gone Home, can be used as an insult. For instance, one random asshole might say “Wow this game has less game play than Gone Home!” And while I think this type of gamer is certainly a heartless bastard that can’t appreciate art, I also know that this is symptomatic of a larger problem with the gaming scene’s perception towards non-traditional narrative heavy games.

To allow myself a tangent, what is the difference between a point and click adventure, and a narrative exploration game? I’m willing to wager the biggest difference we’ll find is that adventure games have locks on its doors that require the player to search and puzzle their way through. I often feel like this trait of wanting me to spend longer in the game is in effort to waste my time rather than entertain me. So why is it such a bad thing when a game like Tacoma respects the value I have for my time, and doesn’t bother with shallow puzzles? I think it is a disservice to the games industry to call walking sims as lesser games, especially when there are so many that tell interesting stories while engaging just enough.

This is why Tacoma being “pretty good I guess” is a good grade from me. My stay on Tacoma station was enjoyable as I got to know the crew and explore the mystery, and by the time I was getting ready to wrap up my first session the curtains were closing and the credits were rolling. I recommend Tacoma to people who enjoy these types of short and satisfying stories. I also recommend that people who use walking sim as an insult to learn to appreciate some damned art when they see it.

This review is part #2 of Sam’s self-imposed backlog challenge. You can follow him on Twitter

‘Bohemian Killing’ Review

Bohemian Killing is a first person narrative adventure that tells the story of a murderer. More specifically, the game tells the story of a murderer telling his story about whether or not he killed someone. The Moonwalls, developers of this short and sweet walking sim, did a good job framing the systems of Bohemian Killing but fell short when it came to storytelling.

The narrative in Bohemian Killing is centered around its protagonist Ethon giving his testimony about the night of a murder. The way this works is through a walking sim in the style of Gone Home, except every interaction with items and people in the world will be included in your testimony. This means if we the players go straight from the starting point to Ethon’s apartment and right to bed, the courtroom will let out a collective sigh and send us straight to prison.

The Moonwalls boast nine different endings to the story of Bohemian Killing, each of which is unlocked by assembling evidence and testimony in a way that will give Ethon a cohesive story in his trial. My biggest issue with the game is that most of these endings feel the same. Sure you had some different monologue from Ethon along the way, but so much of it is the same that I wasn’t compelled to continue to unlock the final few endings. Maybe if there had been more energy in the interactions between Ethon and the judge I would have appreciated the voice acting more. How hard is it to build up a “You can’t handle the truth!” scene anyways?

I do recommend Bohemian Killing to fans of the walking sim genre, but only for those that don’t mind going through the same scenes, visuals, and narration multiple times.

Interested readers can check out the game on Steam for $12.99

 

Sam Adonis is a freelance writer who has previously been featured on IndieGamerTeam, IndieGameMag, and Indie-Love. You can reach out to him on Twitter @IndieSamAdonis