- Posted May 8th, 2012 at 15:56 EDT by Michael Harradence
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Despite being woefully short and lacking some genuinely challenging puzzles, Datura is still a captivating and unique experience worth checking out.
- The scrumptious visuals
- The great use of PS Move
- Superb atmosphere and score
- The short game length
- Puzzles are too easy
- Some annoying slowdown and minor hiccups
After wrapping up my first play through of Datura, I wasn’t quite sure what to think – it really is that unique. However, one thing that was abundantly clear is that I hadn’t played anything like this on PlayStation Network, and am not likely to for quite some time either. An adventure game at its core, Datura – named after the eponymous, potentially-hazardous form of plant life you’ll spot frequently throughout– is entirely open to interpretation, boasting an ambiguous setting that is as mind-numbing as it is stunning. Developed by Plastic Studios in conjunction with SCE Studio Santa Monica, the game evokes classic adventures such as Myst, placing emphasis on exploration and the unyielding sense of discovery.
One thing you should know right off the bat: Datura is best played with PlayStation Move. Sure, you can plump for the regular SixAxis pad if you wish, but it’s clear Plastic wants you to get your waggle on to enjoy the full level of immersion that Datura offers. So suited to PS Move is the game in fact, that I didn’t opt for any other control method during my time with it. So, what of the game itself? Well, things start off clear enough, with your character strapped down in the back of an ambulance. After wriggling about for a bit, you soon flat line, and wake up in the middle of a dreamy, sumptuously-realised forest. This is where things properly get underway, and you’ll be spending most of your time in this lush location.
Datura gives you full control over a disembodied hand, which you’ll use to feel, push, throw and grasp your way through this cerebrally-driven romp. The PS Move offers 1:1 motion with the hand, allowing for an intuitive, immersive experience when picking stuff to aiming down the barrel of a gun. Moving about isn’t quite as graceful, requiring you to hold down the PS Move button while using the controller to guide you in the desired direction. Fortunately, I didn’t take too long getting acquainted with the controls, and a series of on-screen hints facilitated the learning process. Throw in the ability to run by hitting Trigger and walk backwards by holding circle, and you’ll soon be moving around easily enough. While it still feels awkward at times, the triangle button pops up now and then allowing you to focus on objects of interest, which helps trim the fat of wandering around aimlessly. I found the PS Move itself to be pretty accurate and responsive, and was soon soaking up the atmosphere without fiddling around with the set-up.
Your overall objective is to progress to each new area, which is accomplished by solving a variety of riddles. The puzzles make great use of PS Move’s motion-sensing shenanigans, and there’s plenty to do to boot. For example, one scenario had me pouring a vase of slimy, green liquid into a statue’s water bale, while another time I was force to wake up a sleeping pig by lobbing prickly fruit at it – all while simulating a throwing motion with PS Move with alarming accuracy. Each area is free to explore, though doesn’t offer a great deal of freedom, and as such I found myself easily navigating my way through the woods to my next objective – I didn’t even bother with the in-game map. Sadly, the puzzles themselves are never really all that challenging, and it makes you wonder what would have happened had Plastic really gone to town by allowing you to put your thinking cap on a little more. Nonetheless, you are presented with various choices throughout, which offer a little more incentive in terms of replay value. Did you run over the pig or swerve to avoid it? Did you grab the trophy in the ice or rescue the drowning man? The choice is up to you.
Despite the lack of challenge, the riddles are still compelling enough to endure, seeing as ... (continued on next page) ----
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