My regular guest game reviewer, Dave Corn, is back again. Taking a break from reviewing re-releases of 16-bit shoot ’em ups, Dave takes a look at something a bit different here. A survival game, but not just any survival game, one that uses virtual reality. From developer and publisher 17-Bit comes the VR survival game, Song in the Smoke.
My first review of a VR game is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a while now. VR gaming for me is personal, something better to be done when home alone. Slip the headset on, place the earphones firmly on your ears, you become immersed in another world and yet, the real world around you carries on with you oblivious in this 360-degree piece of interactive art, whilst still being vulnerable to the real world, you are ignoring everything that is happening around you.
Not many VR games try to add to that feeling, sporting fun and realities a new within your own four walls. Saying all this brings us to the game Song in the Smoke. You find yourself in a jungle environment where you meet a three-headed vulture with a human head on its chest, it doesn’t communicate with you but it silently watches over you, quite menacingly.
The jungle environment really is very nice to be in, a cell-shaded area of lush trees, rivers and rocks that you find your caveman-self traversing quite easily eventually. You see this is the part of this game, using smooth movements even moving anywhere, but when you have to do a quick wall or rock climb, it switches to snap mode and that for me that stops the immersion of the game.
This game really is about survival, you have to survive by killing animals, regularly sleeping and crafting items. All in all this game is fun and immersive and that’s what you really want from a VR title. Tracking is always an issue with PSVR, getting the camera in the right place above or below the TV, this title tracks better than most. Again, like other VR games that rely on a camera tracking light on your headset and your hands, they lose connection. This is infuriating as you get killed just because your right hand it’s behind your head.
VR at the moment is best used in my opinion in racing and cockpit games. When it comes to games where you need to stand up there is always a problem tracking the move controllers. It is taking me around four years at getting good at knowing how best to place the camera for each game. You can tell that the Song In The Smoke was lovingly made. VR has come a long way in the last four years and this game really shows it. For people looking her for a great survival game, then this is for you.
For me, this game would be too time-consuming. Whether it was getting used to moving around, using the crafting tools, remembering to sleep and eat, or generally just wandering around the amazing environment. Recently while exploring the game I found myself up against a bear, I thought I had enough strength and equipment to fight it suddenly my tiredness metre start flashing and without touching the bear, as we are a metre apart from each other, I dropped down dead and the bear had a field day.
There are a few lessons to be learned here first don’t try to fight a bear when your character has never slept in the sixth game day. Secondly don’t be so cocky, it’s a fucking bear. Thirdly be better at computer games.
So, Song in the Smoke is quite possibly my biggest game to review yet. If you got the time and you enjoy survival games, this one really is for you, the Robin Crusoe in you will be satisfied but remember you are a caveman and you’ve got to evolve, be more than you are. I’ll give this a 3/5. It takes a good while to get into for someone looking to pick up and play but should interest survival game fans for the most part.