Review: Tethered (PS4/PSVR)



  • PlayStation 4

Format/Hardware Used:

  • PSN Download
  • PS4 Pro
  • HDTV


  • PlayStation VR Optional
  • DualShock 4 Required (1)
  • PlayStation Move None
Title: Tethered
Format: PSN (3.18 GB)
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Secret Sorcery Limited
Developer: Secret Sorcery Limited
Original MSRP: $32.99 (US), €29.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy

Playing Without VR

You look upon a land floating high in the sky. A lone egg falls from above and with the help of some sunshine, a little cute creature hatches. This strange hapless thing is called a Peep and it needs your help and guidance.

More eggs eventually fall from the sky and if left, will turn from a nice blue to a nasty brown before an ugly slug bursts out of them and slithers to the dark underside of the floating island. Sunshine cannot turn a brown egg back, only a Peep can, it will climb on top and sit for a short time. Soon after, the egg will turn back to blue and it will begin to hatch.

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The little Peeps need to be fed and kept busy. They really hate waiting around and it makes them very sad, suicidal in fact. These cute little critters will eventually take a long walk off a short ledge and plunge into the unknown below. They give you one last desperate look of despair before they step off the edge and it’s a really horrible sight to witness.

Only by combining randomly appearing sunshine and rain clouds to form a rainbow will you be able to restore the happiness of a suicidal Peep if tethered to it. These various weather formations can also make things grow, freeze a patch of water, add armour, and much more. Like the elusive sunshine over Britain, these formations do not stay for long and must be used whenever possible.

… building up their armor and equipping them with bombs …
Spirit energy needs to be collected to fill a totem that the Peeps worship and store all the supplies in as well. The amount of energy needed depends on the level and can be produced from almost every action the little creatures do. The most energy comes from killing the horrible slug creatures.

The ugly slugs slither up onto the once peaceful land when the sun goes down. They attack anything they get close enough to, including your little creatures. A Peep can usually dispatch one or two slugs before dying, so building up their armor and equipping them with bombs can prolong their life.

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Annoyingly this is where my one issue with the game rears its ugly head. When a Peep attacks a slug it forgets what it was doing before. It’s not a big problem in the early levels when you only have a few things to keep track of, but later on in the game, it becomes very troublesome.

Upgrading buildings, fields, mines, and almost anything a Peep interacts with can help massively, and many things have a few different choices that help in very different ways. You can change a cornfield to a pumpkin patch so it grows at night and keeps food coming round the clock, or go for potatoes that last longer.

Playing Without VR
In early April 2017, Secret Sorcery Limited added a patch to the game allowing it to be entirely playable without VR and Josh took a look at it. There were questions as to how the experience would be changed with the optional removal of VR and as it turns out, it’s a relatively smooth process.

You’re still using a DualShock 4 to control things, but the motion sensors now work in place of your head. Moving the controller around causes the entire screen to move. It takes a minute to get used to it, but it quickly becomes quite workable. If things get out of whack, which they will from time to time, a quick press on R3 will center the image and get you moving again.

This is the default way to control things but it’s not the only way. Digging into the menu gives you the option to turn off the motion controls. You’ll then be looking around the screen and selecting your Peeps with the Left and Right Sticks. It’s definitely slower though and I found the entire experience much easier with the motion controls.

A nice addition for those of you that have the latest gear is that the game now runs in 4K at 60fps in the “Untethered” mode on PlayStation 4 Pro so everything looks better than ever. Even without a 4K TV the visual upgrade is apparent.

The patch also added a “dusk and dawn checkpoint style save system”, as well as a slow-motion and fast forward feature which can really be helpful when you’re simply resource gathering. Other than that, the game is exactly the same as it was, which is to be expected.

The experience outside of VR leaves you feeling a bit more, for lack of a better term, detached. You can zoom in a bit but you don’t get that personal connection that you’ll feel when immersed in VR. It still works and it plays well in either mode and it’s simply a nice way to make the game available to those who don’t have PlayStation VR.

The feeling that you are playing god with these adorable things and their cute mannerisms only adds to the heartache when one of them is killed or takes its own life. Controls are well thought out and I have only had a few instances of not being able to select the Peep or thing I wanted straight away. Looking at it from a different angle, or just leaning my head, has solved the problem every time.

With thirteen levels, this is a game that will keep you going for a decent amount of time. The early levels can take anywhere between fifteen and twenty minutes while some later levels can take much longer than that. You are ranked on several factors at the end of each level and it will take some doing to get top marks.

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Tethered has excellent graphics that look great in VR. Being able to physically look around and control the cute creatures by looking at them and pressing a button on the DualShock works very well.

When you glance down at a Peep, it will look up at you with its big eyes in a loving gaze. The disgusting slugs slither and creep along oblivious to your presence and snap and snarl at your devoted followers.

… the chilling cry as they plunge into the abyss …
The smallest details make the game wonderful to look at, my favorite things being the lit candle stuck on a miner’s hat, butterflies dancing in the breeze, and when a Peep hatches from an egg, shaking off little bits of the shell. I even like the way the slugs move along and a small part of me wishes they left a slimy trail.

Spirit energy needs to be sucked into your view by holding down a button and looking at the small blue orbs until they are pulled into you like the last delicious remnants of a milkshake being slurped up a straw.


A gentle melody plays during the day and then changes to an ominous and harrowing tune at night. You will know when a Peep is contemplating ending it all and will definitely hear the chilling cry as they plunge into the abyss below.

The Peeps make a few little unintelligible sounds as they go about their business, hammering away at rocks, strolling to the forest, and even clubbing a horrible slug to death. The tiny yelps as a tornado picks them up and whisks them across the land like Dorothy and Toto always make me smile.

This game is singleplayer only with no online component.


Tethered could easily be dismissed as a cute and silly little game from the screenshots though it is anything but. What the developers at Secret Sorcery have managed to do is hide a deep and tense strategic god game in a beautiful and charming archipelago in the sky.

The excellent and simple control scheme immersed me so much in the delightful game that I reached out to try to catch a Peep as it plummeted into the abyss. If you think it’s too cute and childish for you to enjoy, then you are missing one of the best PlayStation VR games on the Store today.

This is a great example of how PlayStation VR is changing the landscape of gaming and I cannot wait to see what comes next.


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

Written by Chazz Harrington

Chazz Harrington

You can find me on everything: PSN, Twitter, Origin, Steam, etc using my universal ID: ChazzH69

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