Review: Wayward Sky (PSVR)

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Formats:

  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4
  • HDTV

Extras:

  • PlayStation VR Required
  • DualShock 4 Optional (1)
  • Move Recommended (2)
Title: Wayward Sky
Format: PSN (5.2 GB)
Release Date: October 10, 2016
Publisher: Uber Entertainment
Developer: Uber Entertainment
Original MSRP: $19.99
ESRB Rating: T
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Gameplay:
Wayward Sky is played sitting and it is recommended that players use two Move controllers. A DS4 can be used but does not control quite as well and it only gives you one hand in the game. Some of the puzzles involve pulling levers and turning valves so using both hands at the same times feels more natural.

You take control of a girl named Bess as she searches for her father after their plane crashes on a mysterious fortress hidden in the clouds. You’ll use one controller to move Bess around and select objects while the second is only used when solving puzzles in a first person view.

Because only one controller is used most of the game, I had a tendency to rest my other hand in my lap. A few times this caused the camera to not be able to track the second controller and it would start floating around on screen.

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To reach her father, Bess has to solve all sorts of puzzles. At the beginning of the game, this is centered around pulling levers and hitting switches to move platforms around. Sometimes this is simply to create a path for Bess to reach the other side of the area. Other times the goal is to move patrolling enemies onto an alternate path, leaving a clear path to the next level.

If that seems pretty easy and straightforward it’s because, well, the puzzles are easy. Some people may argue that they should be harder but I believe that would have been a mistake. Uber Entertainment describes Wayward Sky as a “game that focuses on atmosphere and storytelling through light puzzle solving designed to ease players into VR”. Except for when I struggled with tracking issues, I had a smile on my face the entire time.

… simple mechanics and easy puzzles …
There is just something about the game, the puzzles, the atmosphere, and the world that together are truly enjoyable. If there had been pixel hunt puzzles, puzzles that require you to look at an inventory and combine two random objects together, or just difficult puzzles that you’d constantly running up against, well that would change the whole tone of the game.

That is not say that I never had to stop, look around, and think about the area for a minute. I never just walked through an area without thought. But I was also never stumped by a puzzle for more than a few minutes.

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With simple mechanics and easy puzzles, the game could have easily become repetitive and stale after the first hour. However, Wayward Sky does a great job of introducing new mechanics and puzzles as you go. There is a slight difficulty curve as the game progresses, but things are still relatively easy.

The way the new puzzle types and mechanics are mixed together keeps the game feeling fresh for the most part. There are few areas where things start to feel a little repetitive, one more mechanic and puzzle type would have helped.

… The biggest flaw in the game is tracking the Move controllers …
The game also takes what are essentially puzzle rooms with an entrance, exit, and some in between and really mixes them up. Some areas are all one level and other areas are made of up of a bunch of small platforms at different heights.

The camera is constantly changing as well throughout each area. It can be zoomed out, zoomed in, the angle can be changed, and it can even go into first person view letting you use both Move controllers. Even though you’re still in the same puzzle room, the different camera angles and switching between third and first person views keep the areas fresh and help to keep you engaged.

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The biggest flaw in the game is tracking the Move controllers. Most of the time I had little to no issues, but when things got bad it was really bad. Resetting the view would temporarily help with the headset but the controllers would still be stuck far to the side.

This was only made worse when trying to solve puzzles in first person. It was really frustrating when all I had to do was make a small adjustment to a valve to rotate one water pipe in line with another. But because the tracking was not working, it kept jerking past the point. A few times the tracking got so bad I had to restart the game in order to continue.

… a beautiful and atmospheric adventure …
Visuals:
What Uber was able to create in VR is truly amazing. The graphics are simple yet the world seems full of detail. Everywhere you look there is something going on.

It’s hard describe the art style as it is constantly changing. The story cutscenes have a flat 2D puppet style. Each character and background piece is a cutout and attached to a stick that seems like it is being moved around by an invisible hand.

When the camera is zoomed out, moving Bess around feels like moving a piece on a board. She has a fluid claymation style when the camera is zoomed in. Her art style is different from the robots, which is also different from the backdrop of the fortress. No matter where the camera is set, the art styles and world are bright, beautiful, and vibrant.

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Audio:
The audio was largely unnoticed at first. There is background music, sounds of the robots walking around, platforms moving, and Bess sliding down a zipline. All the sound effects complement the game nicely but do not stand out like the graphics.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.

Conclusion:
Wayward Sky is a beautiful and atmospheric adventure. While it is far from perfect, it’s a great PS VR launch game. Some people may be looking for more of a challenge but the difficulty is fitting for the tone of the game.

Despite the tracking issues this is a game every PS VR owner should play. Even with two Move controllers the controls are simple enough for anyone. So if you’re looking for a great game to show off VR to non-gamer friends and family, look no further.

Score:
7.0

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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