Regardless of being an immersive horror sport with a darkish tone, grownup humor and a number of soar scares, there’s one thing charming about strolling round with a swearing, highly-strung anthropomorphic puppet in your hand in Hi there Puppets!
It’s this juxtaposition in tone that actually pushes Hi there Puppets! ahead by means of it’s roughly 2 hour period.
Developed by Otherworld Interactive and funded by Oculus Studios, Hi there Puppets! launched late final 12 months on the Oculus Retailer, completely for the Oculus Rift S. Typically, Hi there Puppets! doesn’t reinvent the VR wheel. It options pretty customary puzzle mechanics in a brief, linear narrative-driven horror VR sport. All the core components at play work high-quality however wouldn’t essentially stand out in a lineup. Nonetheless, close to the start of the sport, one thing occurs that provides an attention-grabbing twist to the way you play — a puppet named Scout is sewn onto your non-dominant hand and involves life, quipping and guiding you thru the remainder of the sport.
The 2 of you might be certain collectively, bodily and narratively, and whereas it seems like a easy idea, it’s a welcome one. The addition of Scout the puppet is what drives this sport to be greater than only a inventory customary horror sport — she offers quippy dialogue and interactions, a wanted break from a number of the intense horror moments, and in addition introduces some distinctive gameplay mechanics.
You play as a journalist despatched to analyze a decommissioned warehouse, which you quickly be taught is managed by two creepy mastermind puppets named Riley and Mortimer. They’re abducting people and possessing their our bodies with sewn-on puppets, similar to Scout. The catch is that one thing went fallacious once they kidnapped you, and Scout isn’t in charge of your physique like she ought to be. This forces the 2 of you to work collectively to flee the warehouse whereas being pursued by Mortimer and Riley.
It’s a easy story that received’t shock or shock you, however that’s not essentially a nasty factor. The main target is just not on the narrative twists, however as a substitute on the characters and the bond you kind with Scout alongside the best way. Scout is an equally excellent information, aspect character, and gameplay mechanic. Her dialogue is completely written to stability out the creepy setting with some darkish humor, and she or he shortly turns into the shining diamond of your entire sport.
The sport’s environments are darkish and unsettling, witht he ambiance being simply creepy sufficient to maintain you persistently in your toes. There are some good soar scares too, which can depart you adequately spooked however not overly irritated. The overall tone of the story can also be refreshingly grownup — this isn’t a child’s sport by any means. There are some darkish implications about what’s happening within the warehouse and Scout has fairly the motormouth on her. Whereas your individual character is mute by means of the story (which, in-game, is defined by your mouth being sewn shut), you may nonetheless talk and reply to Scout’s dialogue by nodding or shaking your head, which makes for some enjoyable interactions.
Nonetheless, if there’s an space the place Hi there Puppets! begins to disappoint, it’s the gameplay itself. As talked about earlier, the mechanics are largely ones you’ve seen in different video games earlier than. Having Scout connected to at least one hand does introduce some distinctive gameplay moments (which we we received’t spoil right here), however they don’t really feel like sufficient to maintain the whole lot contemporary. Across the sport’s midway level, the gameplay begins to really feel a bit repetitive and progressively much less creative than a number of the concepts within the first half.
The one actions you carry out are largely simply movement-based (attending to an space, reaching a door, or working away from a monster) or selecting issues up (grabbing a required merchandise, fixing a puzzle, or performing a primary motion). There’s no fight and the one controls you actually need to memorize are the stroll button and the grip button, plus the triggers for a particular motion launched later within the sport. At a number of factors, you’ll must run away from some actually terrifying monsters, however the entire expertise turns into a bit drab if you understand that there’s no actual problem in these interactions. If you happen to don’t begin strolling, you’ll be helpless to defend your self and get killed by the monster. If you happen to do begin strolling, you’ll probably make it out alive. There’s nothing extra to these sections and so they by no means really feel overly creative or compelling.
The sport additionally has its fair proportion of bugs that weigh it down, particularly involving saving and loading video games. Whereas there’s clearly an autosave system at work, there have been a couple of cases the place I began a bit additional again from the place I left off, however retained objects I had discovered within the subsequent part. Some dialogue traces had been replayed at odd instances and I did have one unlucky game-breaking bug that trapped me in a room endlessly upon reloading, unable to go away. Whereas the builders helped resolved my problem and guaranteed me they had been engaged on patching that bug particularly, it’s nonetheless unlucky it occurred within the first place a number of months after launch. Mixed with a couple of different oddities I encountered, it does really feel barely lower than polished, however not sufficient to wreck your entire expertise.
Hi there Puppets! Overview Remaining Verdict
Total, lots of the core puzzles and gameplay in Hi there Puppets! may really feel acquainted. There’s buttons to push, enemies to evade, and levers to tug – nothing you haven’t completed earlier than. Nonetheless, the place the sport shines is the dialogue, characters, and distinctive gameplay mechanics that stem from having a anthropomorphic puppet sewn onto your hand all through your entire expertise. Not solely is the voice appearing glorious, however the writing is humorous and the grownup tone, with swears and all, feels completely positioned to stability out the macabre, barely over-the-top and terrifying setting.
Hi there Puppets! didn’t blow me away, but it surely additionally didn’t must. Whereas not the whole lot is ideal, it makes up for the areas it lacks in with some thrilling and refreshing components that add some levity to the horror setting. If you happen to benefit from the horror style in VR, it’s in all probability value testing for the marginally totally different tackle the style and humorous addition of Scout the puppet. In some ways, Hi there Puppets! has lots of parallels to the way you may strategy a blockbuster horror film — whereas not notably groundbreaking, in case you have a couple of spare hours on the weekend, it is likely to be value testing for a little bit of enjoyable, a couple of scares, and possibly even amusing.
Remaining Rating: three/5 Stars | Fairly Good
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Hi there Puppets! is accessible now on the Oculus Retailer for $19.99 on the Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest through Hyperlink. This evaluate was carried out on the Oculus Quest utilizing Oculus Hyperlink.