Long before VR became the cold, hard commodity that it is today, the buzzword associated with the concept was ‘immersion’; the idea of becoming part of an interactive realm that previously only existed within the boundaries of our television screens. One of the games taking up the charge of championing this notion in PSVR’s launch line-up is Wayward Sky, a family friendly point and click yarn that leverages Sony’s new technology to craft an adventure that while mechanically modest, possesses both charm and that old buzzword by the bucketload.
Embracing ‘Point and Look’ Gameplay
The stuff of fairy tales, Wayward Sky’s parable will be familiar to anyone who ever found fanciful the idea of a Jules Verne style adventure among the clouds. Opening with an old-fashioned bi-plane crashing onto a skybound, mechanical island, the player’s quest begins in earnest, taking control of brave heroine Bess as she witnesses her father being kidnapped by a giant robot before she sets off in manic pursuit.
Described as a “look-and-click” adventure, Wayward Sky can be played either with the trusty Dual Shock 4 controller or a PlayStation Move controller and places the player in the role of some sort of disembodied observer who, through a number of unique perspectives, can use either of those controllers to move Bess to designated waypoints in addition to interacting with various elements of the game world.
Although you cannot rotate the camera, the excellent head-tracking of Wayward Sky allows you to peer around Bess’s world; the sensation of leaning in close and watching our heroine merrily dash across a bridge coming across as a true gaming moment that as poignant as it is charming. Similar to how the classic Resident Evil games used to function, every time Bess starts to leave the sight of the player, the camera will snap to a different angle to always ensure that she remains in full view.
Speaking of snapping, the perspective will also shift whenever Bess interacts with something that requires a gesture-based action in order to proceed, and it’s here that the PlayStation Move controller really comes into its own as players will be expected to replicate the motions for flipping switches, turning valves and much more besides. Accompanying such activities are various ‘pods’ that are scattered and hidden around every stage; serving as a collectible of sorts but one that provides a decidedly lightweight incentive for replaying the game.
Further afield, it’s fair to say that the puzzles in Wayward Sky really aren’t particularly taxing at all. Clearly geared with a younger audience in mind (a sentiment that aligns neatly with its twee presentation), the simplistic conundrums rarely become anything more complicated than moving blocks, commanding friendly robots or flicking switches in order to open the way to the next area. If you were feeling cynical, you might well approximate Wayward Sky’s mechanics to that of a touch-based mobile title, while the lack of additional modes and a short campaign (it’s a shade over three hours long) also entail that the game’s longevity leaves something left to be desired.
A great introduction to PSVR for kids
While such concerns no doubt warrant the appropriate consideration when it comes to a potential purchase, it would feel reductive to ignore Wayward Sky’s fairytale-like charm. This being a family affair, the oft whimsical narrative is told with the sort of theatrical verve that should be familiar to family audiences who have been exposed to the recent Kubo and The Two Strings animated picture and classic 1980s Studio Ghibli movie, Laputa: Castle in the Sky. In ascribing to this form of theatrical storytelling for a younger audience, frequent dramatic flourishes such as biplanes whooshing past the player’s view and big colourful robots battling it out are often contrasted wonderfully with softer, more emotionally stirring fairytale like exposition scenes.
Ultimately, what developer Uber Entertainment have crafted with Wayward Sky is something quite remarkable; simultaneously presenting a stirring showcase of PSVR’s immersive capabilities and a consummate introduction to the technology for the younger folk. In view of this, it’s clear that Wayward Sky poses little challenge for those of more advanced years, yet, the charm which is infused into every aspect of its execution can still be easily appreciated by that same audience. Oh, and when it comes to motion sickness or queasiness, Wayward Sky absolutely does not elicit either the latter or former at any point during its duration; yet further bolstering its position as the most child-friendly PSVR title on the market.
Outside of its humble handful of collectibles, Wayward Sky’s legs are perhaps shorter than we would have liked. Nonetheless, its sheer amount of charm shines through and while the puzzles are more skewed towards less developed minds, Wayward Sky still manages to set an enticing blueprint for point and click adventures going forward on PSVR.