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Friday, June 14, 2024

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Review: Daedalus (Gear VR)

Well, it’s finally time I step back into the realm of virtual reality. Although I may have been focused on the Nintendo Switch for the past few months, the Samsung Gear VR still has a consistent release schedule courtesy of the indie developers that continue to play around with this technology. One of the latest games to see the light of day on the platform is none other than Daedalus.


The man of the same name has been imprisoned before he could share his views and smarts on labyrinths. Although he ventures through them himself to escape from this predicament, he would eventually wish to be as free as when he glided through the air within them. Evidently, the story was a last-minute addition to justify there being one at all. Two short paragraphs make up the into to it, and two short paragraphs make up the ending. Nothing is in between.


Probably one of the more visually enticing games I’ve played on Gear VR, Daedalus‘s labyrinths are abstract and arguably dreamlike; there’s a clear sense of wonder to these barren structures. I’m also surprised by how immersive the experience can be as a VR game. The game envisions the player as being inside a transparent wired sphere, which compensates for not being able to walk around the place. When the sphere¬†ascends into the air, you could actually feel yourself moving up and the immersion wouldn’t be broken due to the game’s establishments of your¬†position.


Audibly, it’s…okay. There are atmospheric pieces in Daedalus‘s soundtrack, but only a couple. They’re not necessarily all that memorable, either. I guess that isn’t to be expected from music trying to deliver an atmosphere, but I would like to have heard some more variety in general.


In Daedalus, you hover around the mazes with the sphere. If you’re on the ground, holding down on the touchpad propels you upward; if you’re airborne, you’ll be able to glide through the air. Combined with the surreal world, the result can make for a breathtaking and interesting experience. However, each level in the game has you do the same objective: Find three triangle platforms to land on, then head to the goal.

There is potential for the game to be a lot more with this formula, but the result here isn’t paced and varied well. Trampolines and winds exist later on, but everything in the game nevertheless can only be used by landing on them as if they were any other platform. The mechanics, while responsive, are too slow for the gameplay to be ultimately satisfying. It especially bothers me when I have to glide one platform to another all the way across the room; you practically have to wait to reach your destination whenever approaching such a case.


Overall, it’s great as an experiment, but not so much as a game. If you’re in the mood for something deliberately slow-paced and calm, you may find something to like here. The way I see it, though, the potential overshadows the game itself. The speed could be faster, there could be plenty of obstacles to face, the music could be varied, and the game as a whole could be more fun if all these things fall into place.

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