The recently released VR remake of Colossal Cave seeks to preserve the original design while transforming the original 1970s text adventure into an entirely new medium. Unfortunately the end result is not recommended. Read our full Colossal Cave Quest 2 review.
The original Colossal Cave was released in 1976 as one of the first all-text adventure games for computer systems. Almost 50 years later, adventure game legends Roberta and Ken Williams have brought this title to life on modern platforms. Recreated in 3D for the first time, this new version of the Colossal Cave is available for the Quest 2 and Quest Pro consoles, with a PSVR 2 release slated for his March as well.
Ken and Roberta Williams was very clear in communicating with the community The new VR release of Colossal Cave is basically unchanged in a design sense. This reimagining features the exact same puzzles, solutions, point system, and content as the original. However, instead of interacting via text responses and imagining what the text describes, the game features an entire 3D world to explore. Hands On said in his preview last year that experienced Colossal Cave players would probably find this new 3D version of the game to be “like watching a movie adaptation of a novel you read in pieces.” I was.
On a conceptual level, it’s pretty cool to see such an iconic and groundbreaking game reimagined in 3D on both flat screen and VR platforms. It’s very tricky, and the effort to preserve and update a piece of gaming history is commendable.
However, Colossal Cave’s VR implementation falls short completely due to some fundamental flaws, producing an overwhelmingly boring experience. When you load the game for the first time, you will be presented with his two move options, ‘Comfort Locomotion’ and ‘Classic Locomotion’. Despite their names, neither of these options are industry standard, comfortable, or intuitive to use.
Comfort Locomotion is a “recommended” option “designed to reduce comfort sickness”. Select this option to walk forward with the left touch controller trigger and backward with the grip button. To change direction, either physically move the controller (like a rudder) or use the thumbstick snap when stationary. Not very intuitive to use.
Classic Locomotion is similar to traditional thumbstick-based locomotion systems. The left thumbstick moves forward and backward, and the right thumbstick handles snap rotation. In this mode, forward movement follows the direction of the head, but is not continuous. It only moves forward in the direction your head was facing when you started pushing the thumbstick forward. Even if you turn in a different direction while moving, you will continue to move in the original direction. You can use the thumbsticks to snap turns or move diagonally while moving, but in the end it’s not good to use the whole scheme. A close option, but still frustratingly different.
No matter which control scheme you choose, there are no options for vignetting, teleport movement, or other comfort settings other than the option to change movement speed. This means that players prone to motion sickness and nausea should proceed with caution.
Let’s (Not) Get Physical
However, if you manage to get past the cryptic movement options, the next blunder is the game’s interaction system. As you travel deeper into the Colossal Cave, you’ll come across items and elements that you can interact with. However, instead of physically interacting with the world, Colossal Cave equips the player with a raycast his cursor that extends from his single controller.
Aim this cursor like a laser pointer to inspect, touch, and pick up items. The former “investigate” feature is a built-in that feels straight from the original game, but still feels weird when used in VR. You will find yourself listening to a narrator describing your environment and items. However, the real problem is that instead of picking up items within arm’s reach, you use the cursor pointed at the controller to point at items, select them and press the floating button to pick them up or use them. This means, for example, when you are in front of a closed door, click on it with your cursor to open it instead of pushing it with your virtual hand. Similarly, instead of picking up his inventory items by hand, use your cursor to select items and drag them onto the floating “Drop” or “Use” buttons shown above.
Except for VR, it’s basically like a point-and-click adventure game.Ah Recent Posts Roberta and Ken Williams justified the decision as a way to ensure the game had a “cool retro feel” rather than something more modern. But it seriously affects the immersion of the game. You may be walking through this new 3D world, but you’re completely disconnected from it, interacting remotely with no sense of physical participation.
early this month, Roberta Williams told UploadVR That meta was originally against point-and-click dialogue systems. “[Meta] I wanted real physicality. You’ve got your hand in there, you can grab this thing and manipulate it. I think they wanted something really physical, but this is not a physical game. It’s true that the original Colossal Cave is not a physical game, but to give players a way to take these text-based actions (take, use, look) and perform them physically for the first time through VR. would have made this release special. It’s the difference between just navigating through an immersive environment and actually feeling present and involved as if you were actually in the game world.
Using the touch controller cursor to click through menus and perform actions may be more faithful to the original game’s text entry, but it feels completely out of place in the latest VR releases. , the game also gives you the option to attempt a do-nothing action, just to notify you via the narrator. Sometimes I try to hit “use” or grab an item with my cursor just to hear the narrator declare “nothing happens” or “you can’t do that.” This is another holdover from the original text release. Essential in that version, unnecessary in VR and quickly becoming boring.
Beyond these core issues, there are also other minor issues that make the game feel unpolished and rough around the edges. They often moved in the wrong direction when entering an area.
The user interface is visually uninteresting, and some elements, such as the score display on the Touch controller ring, look half-baked and amateurish. It doesn’t help that Colossal Cave chose to use the default white Touch controller skin. As seen in most other VR releases, a little effort to create personalized or themed controller skins for games would have gone a long way in terms of polish and cohesion.
Colossal Caverns Review – Final Verdict
Between all the basic and minor issues with the game, it was difficult to play let alone enjoy the real core Colossal Cave experience reimagined for this release. I quickly gave up trying and opened the original text-based version instead.
Aiming for a “cool retro feel” in Colossal Cave’s reimagining is a sweet sentiment that honors the original game’s place in history. However, this result also makes some incorrect assumptions about what VR offers players. It takes a game from an era when it was boring to play (the rewards of trial and error spread over hours), almost unchanged, to a medium where boredom is a poison.
An incredibly small audience finds anything of value in this VR reconstruction, mostly split between those with the original experience or those interested in video game history. Even for them, the VR design choices are jarring and would hinder rather than enable the core Colossal Cave experience. But that audience doesn’t include those looking for satisfying adventures in VR. As such, you should stay clear of Colossal Cave until further notice. At least in VR.
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