Kismet review code was provided by the publisher.
Kismet is not an ordinary gaming experience, instead opting to provide three separate experiences utilizing virtual reality. Developed by Psyop, Kismet joins an already sizable roster of PlayStation VR games at a much lower price point of $6.99. The goal of Kismet is not to be the next best action game set in VR, but to provide a rather unique simulation of reading fortunes and horoscopes, alongside a game of wit.
Entering the world of Kismet, an enchanted automation prominently encompasses the view as she provides three activities to experience. The animations of the automaton are truly wonderful and actually turn out to be the best part of the game. The detail is superb, and you find yourself mesmerized by her eyes which follow you whenever you turn your head. Both mysterious and creepy, the Kismet experience begins with what she refers to as “the cards”.
The first activity is a tarot card reading where the automaton asks you to select three cards representing the past, present, and the future. While all the animations of the automaton are smooth, and presentation is impressive, Kismet does not take advantage of any motion controls, so there’s very limited face tracking. Instead, the cards are chosen by moving the control stick across.
The automaton discusses the meaning behind each card, and the voice-acting is decent enough, but after a few readings the commentary repeats, leaving a rather shallow experience. Despite the limited and passive experience of the card reading, the entire room is filled with beautiful detail to examine, which provides a nice immersion inside the fortune teller’s caravan before moving onto the other activities.
Proceeding to the second activity transforms the once eerie caravan into an explosion of celestial light. Stars swirl around her as she gestures towards the table to enter your birthday, and proceeds to give a horoscope that relates to the real-time map of the solar system. This can be done daily and while it will not take long to complete, the environment in this activity is worth taking a moment to observe. Unfortunately, this is the most limited activity of the three, and subsequent sessions with the stars are much less interesting.
The third activity is a game of wit, which is the most active gameplay element of Kismet. The automaton explains it is an ancient game of Ur, where the player rolls objects that represent dice floating in the air, with the objective to get the three pieces from the start to the goal. The player must be aware that if the opponent’s piece lands on a spot occupied with their own piece, the player’s piece must go back to start. The game continues until all three pieces reach the end and can be played as many times as desired. Ur does not provide much strategy and it’s hardly to be considered a game of wit, but something to try nonetheless. Like the other activities, it is not something that will remain fresh after a few plays.
The environment while playing Ur is a vast desert with ancient structures buried deep in the sand. While static, it would have been nice to have a few more moving objects to look at while playing a virtual board game inside virtual reality. Once again, motion controls could have been a great addition for rolling the dice or moving the pieces. Ur feels a bit out of place compared to the fortune telling aspects of the other two activities, however the strength of Ur lies in it being the only activity you may play for more than ten minutes in a day.
Kismet is not going to be a game played for hours as all three activities can be experienced in fifteen minutes or less, so one should be aware they are purchasing it more for the fortune and horoscope reading experience than a fully interactive game. Kismet is fairly priced for this type of experience at just under seven dollars on the PlayStation Store with detailed environments and the great animation of the automaton so it’s worth a look if you have some extra money to spare and wanting to see something different in VR.