Innocent VR is the first title developed by Chinese development studio Nuclear Studio. In the game players solve puzzles to save the world.
The game is made for both the Chinese and English market and has a pretty cool mixture of both Chinese and English themes. This is in part due to what I would like to call "Bunny Wheatley", a floating assistant robot somewhat similar to the "Wheatley" character from Valve's Portal 2, but with arms and bunny ears.
What really brings home the Chinese-English feel is how the robot has many cryptic lines that don't always make perfect sense, such as "Outside is getting more dangerous" and "We cannot stay here for a long time", I'm still not sure if this is intentional or not, but it definitely works for the game, not against it.
Without giving too much away of the story, you find yourself in the year 2218 where Earth has been depleted of its natural resources and strange viruses have turned the world into a scary wasteland.
The strangest virus of all is known as "carbonized disease" and it is apparently the greatest threat to humanity ever known. The virus will cause humans to "carbonize from the inside out without ever rotting". Yep.
As you struggle to not turn into a human soda you puzzle your way through, solving the riddle of this weird disease and the mysterious natural disasters you come across.
I can't deny that this has to be one of the most unique and funny backstories I have ever seen in a puzzle game and for that reason alone Innocent VR definitely scores some points.
In terms of gameplay players will be going through a set of locations, teleporting to predefined points while solving puzzles, while their robot assistant follows them around giving cryptic advice when they ask for it. They will also come across other random fun interactions.
While a recent press release mentions you can play the game standing, you really do need room-scale VR to enjoy this title. On the Steam Community a developer mentions a 1,5 meters square minimum play area is required, but after playing I would suggest having at least 2 by 2 meters of space. This is mostly due to teleport positions often rotating your play area, so at times you will be solving puzzles on planes that play out diagonally through the available space.
While the game is definitely fun and a decent challenge, there are also quite a few issues with the game. I was quite surprised to find out that the game is not in Early Access.
On one hand I kind of understand why given that many Early Access VR titles have a tendency to never be finished, giving these titles a bad name. On the other hand I feel like there should be fewer issues in a full retail release.
The biggest issues I experienced in the version I played appear to be related to pushing the title out the door a bit to soon. The assistant robot voice-overs getting cut off, the level geometry sometimes appearing to be slapped together quick and dirty and how it insists on forcing controllers to either the left or right hand are just some of the things I noticed.
Most of your time spent in-game will be spent interacting with objects in order to advance, such as pulling levers and picking up items. This in itself is a fun virtual reality experience but is also nothing to write home about.
If anything, the game's greatest asset seems to be its ability to place you in aesthetically pleasing environments that work well for virtual reality, even though some of them feature minor issues.
Despite the issues, Innocent VR is still is a pretty fun puzzle game for the price. This alone can justify a purchase because you still get great environments, puzzles and "Bunny Wheatley" despite its flaws.
All in all many small issues prevent us from giving the 7 out of 10 score so the end result is a score lower than that. Hopefully these issues can be fixed with a patch so it is able to provide more bang for your buck.
However, as it stands right now, the game already has pretty good value. For the current price, $9.99 US in North America and €9.99 in Europe, you get a pretty cool virtual reality game that has the potential to be a great title if patches resolve the issues mentioned.
The developers have shown themselves to be actively hunting down reported issues via the Steam Community, so at the least they appear eager to remedy issues, and we hope they do.
Update: the development studio has contacted us stating they are currently working on resolving the issues mentioned in this review.
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