I was able to have a chat with the guys from developer Coatsink (thanks for the free t-shirt guys) about Esper. Esper is an interesting first-person, Virtual Reality puzzle game set in 1975 designed for the Oculus Rift and Samsung Gear VR. The version I tried was using the Samsung Gear VR.
Esper struck me straight away as it doesn’t use a controller of any kind, in fact all the interaction you have with the game is done solely through your gaze and the touch pad on the side of the VR headset. Placing the headset on you are sat in a stuffy office room in a situation that reminds me of the Voight Kampff tests from Blade Runner. The premise is this; “Certain members of the public begin to display extra-sensory abilities and, in the interests of national security, the government panic and start forcing citizens to undergo aptitude tests”.
These aptitude tests involve you controlling a Rubik’s cube with your line of sight, wherever you look the cube follows your gaze around the room. Tapping the touch pad on the headset launches the cube, the touch pad also allows you to move the cube forwards and backwards making for a immersive puzzle game. The puzzles I saw all consisted of getting the cube into a box with each one increasing the difficulty mark.
There was a heavy emphasis on the male voice-over who reacted to you as you fail or succeed, this added an interesting element and created an almost ‘Portal’ like atmosphere. Clearly this was an important element to include in the demo as it is key to the gameplay, though I felt it could have been dialed back a bit considering a lot of the time I spent playing the game was me listening to this guy speak when as I just wanted to get on and play.I don’t think I looked as elegant as this wearing VR…
Fortunately I didn’t feel rushed even though there was likely a queue behind me as the VR of course granted complete immersion and I must say it worked very well considering it was merely a Samsung Galaxy S6 slotted into a headset. After a good fifteen minutes on Esper I’m convinced it is a great way for people to ease into VR, it’s intuitive and not too hectic, and without the need for a controller it appeals to a wide audience which is exactly what Virtual Reality will need to do if it is to work this time around.
probably looked more like this.
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Currently living in a tiny Village in North Yorkshire with the Missus and our two cats, Knuckles and Snape. I've been into gaming ever since having to decide between the Sega Mega Drive or a SNES at age two, (Sonic won me over in the end) and I'm a collector of all things Zelda. Mistook my adoration of Videogames and ended up doing a Bachelors in Film production, then ended up living in America for a short while and then Vancouver, Canada for 2 years. Now I'm back home, living in the middle of no-where ready to live the dream and write about Video games!