Date Published: April 25, 2014
Adam Smith gives an overview of the indie games showcased at the Gadget Show Live 2014; from Virtual Reality (VR) to 80s style shoot ‘em ups.
The most impressive game that I played on the Oculus Rift; Ether One fuses exploration and puzzle aspects brilliantly. The player is a ‘Restorer’ that explores the minds of patients suffering from dementia in order to try and restore their memories, represented by red ribbons. While I only had a few minutes to play the game, it beautifully demonstrated how VR can operate in games; putting on the hardware really felt like I was diving into another world. Since every section of the world is a puzzle, it encourages the player to look around and examine every element of the patients’ mind to try and find out more about the pristine harbour town of Pinwheel.
Happily, this is not a game that has a set method to ‘solve’ the puzzles, which means the player can complete the game in (on average) seven hours, but that can shoot up to ten or possibly higher if the player really wants to get their head around their surroundings. One of my favourite aspects was a memory that told the player about how the workers of Pinwheel’s mine were complaining about its dangers. It does not take a creative genius to work out what happened; but the fact that the game is overtly show rather than tell is very refreshing, and I wish I had had the chance to play further.