To the Clouds, and Beyond!

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HIGH Robot medic to the rescue!

LOW A couple of the gears are hidden a little too well.

WTF The trophy for playing ‘fetch’ with a chicken.


 

Wayward Sky is a delight from beginning to end. A point-and-click adventure may seem like an odd choice for a PSVR launch title, but from its opening moments the game dispels any notion that the classic adventure format wouldn’t work in this medium.

Players control Bess, a young pilot who crash-lands on a giant airship. She must rescue her father and a host of other unlucky airmen from a nefarious robot and his mysterious master.

Wayward Sky‘s world is laid out in front of players like a diorama, and the Move controller points at elements of the environment for Bess to walk to or interact with. Every area is full of environmental puzzles which need to be solved by flipping switches, commanding robots, or ziplining from platform to platform. It’s not the deepest point-and-click adventure ever since there’s no inventory and the puzzles are laid out in a linear and narrative-based format, but its two-hour length encompasses a wide enough variety of puzzle types to keep players engaged all the way through.

While the point-and-click genre may not be new, I can’t stress enough what an incredibly fresh feel VR gives it. Being able to freely look down onto the world of the characters is an entirely new experience, and the developers do a great job of integrating the player’s point of view into puzzle design. Levels encourage players to lean left and right to see every part of a vignette’s layout, hiding bonus items and important switches just out of sight. This encourages players to constantly take in the whole world that’s offered, ensuring that they get the full experience as the gorgeous design washes over them.

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In terms of presentation, Wayward Sky is beautiful. The player manipulates adorably stylized characters like fully-animated action figures, and the world is packed with endless details that make it convincing and memorable in equal measure. The airship on which the game is set has a number of distinctly designed areas, and the developers use the PSVR’s capabilities to make each new level seem surprisingly grounded. The stylized models create the illusion of a miniature world that players can simply reach out and touch – which they actually can. In order to solve some puzzles, Wayward Sky moves the player into a first-person view with the Move Controllers standing in for Bess’ hands as she fiddles with power consoles and spins valve handles.

The game’s tale is top-notch. Both Bess’s backstory and the story of the airship are sketched in expertly with a handful of cutscenes, telling a simple narrative that’s genuinely affecting by the end. Whoever thought of building cutscenes in the form of a mechanical pop-up book should win an award, as it takes the most passive part of the gameplay and manages to use it to pull the player even farther into its world.

The only downside I can complain about is that Wayward Sky is just two hours long. It doesn’t ever feel short because the story is perfectly structured, has a satisfying conclusion, and there are plenty of puzzles, but its world captivated me so completely that I wanted more of it to explore. There is a bit of extra content to the game (hidden robot parts to find and wind chimes to build) but by and large once the game is over, it’s over.

This brief length shouldn’t discourage anyone with a PSVR from playing Wayward Sky, though – besides being a stellar proof-of-concept showing how one of the oldest genres of gaming will do just fine in this brand new format, it’s a great title all on its own, and a genuine standout of the launch lineup. Rating: 9 out of 10


 

Disclosures: This game is developed and published by Uber Entertainment. It is currently available on PSVR. This copy of the game was obtained via publisher and reviewed on the PSVR. Approximately 2 hours of play were devoted to the single-player mode, and the game was completed. There are no multiplayer modes.

Parents: According to the ESRB, this game is rated T and contains Violence. While the game’s story can get a little tragic at times, this isn’t scary or intense, and is somber and mature in its handling of broken families and dealing with loss. The violence isn’t traumatic at all, and is almost entirely directed at robots. If a teen is old enough to use the PSVR, they’re fine to play this game.

Deaf & Hard of Hearing Gamers: The game has no vital audio cues, and should serve as an example to all other developers for how to use subtitles in VR. Where some games paste subtitles in front of the game’s camera, awkwardly obscuring the game world, Wayward Sky locks them to the character who is speaking, having them hover over them in the game world – it’s completely natural, and should inform all subtitling decisions in the future.

Remappable Controls: No, this game’s controls are not remappable.

Colorblind Modes: There are no colorblind modes available in the options.

Daniel Weissenberger

Daniel Weissenberger

What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died?

Nothing relevant to this conversation, that's for sure! Because we're here to talk about (sorry, write and read about, respectively) GC_Danny, who's updating this profile for the first time in thirteen years!

So let's take a gander back at that time and see what's happened! In addition to writing hundreds of video game reviews, Dan produced a book that can be legally purchased by almost anyone! He also wrote two short films, two episodes of television, and two movies! Although, sadly, and through much fault of his own, the movies have yet to be released.

In addition to general game reviewing, he's also dabbled in more long-form work, writing some of the longest and most comprehensive game reviews of all time. Then there's his non-GameCritics blogging, where he's famous as the world's foremost expert on the TV show Criminal Minds, as well as the co-host of a weekly podcast - he's even working on a new videogame/critical experiment, which you can find out more about here!

If all that wasn't enough, just a few months ago he rebranded himself as 'The Hidden Object Guru', hoping to stake another claim of ultimate expertise, this time over a genre of casual games! Will he be successful? Only time will tell, but you're free to join the thrilling ride at his YouTube channel!
Daniel Weissenberger

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