Oasis Games and Void Dimensions are nearly upon the release of their upcoming virtual reality title Light Tracer. However, ahead of the game’s launch DualShockers had the opportunity to spend enough time with the PlayStation VR game to find that it is an entertaining experience but somewhat technically challenging in its use of the VR medium.
Light Tracer puts players in the role of a god-like entity that must guide a young Princess through the trials of a tower filled with dangerous pitfalls and enemies that do not wish to see her reach her goal. Using the PlayStation Move controller, players will project a beam of light onto a surface to direct the Princess with where to walk. In the event that she must jump over or strike at something, the Princess will also require the player’s direction.
In essence, the Princess will simply stand still without player interaction, making her feel almost like a puppet in this unique VR puzzle-platformer. It didn’t take long for me to get comfortable with the controls and mechanics of Light Tracer. I found the early tasks to be simple enough. Point to a surface, hold down the PlayStation Move trigger, and the Princess runs straight toward it. Platforming worked similarly, as it required the same process accompanied by a well-timed jump action. Puzzles were equally straight-forward.
In fact, the majority of my experience with Light Tracer didn’t feel particularly difficult. Although my Princess fell off of a ledge or two, and I momentarily had to consider my next step in a puzzle, I made my way through the first chapter of the tower with relative ease.
Where I did run into a little trouble was in controlling the camera. Light Tracer asks that you direct the Princess with one PlayStation Move controller and to use the second Move controller to alter where your camera is positioned along the height of the tower and around it. While the PlayStation VR headset allows directional movement of the camera (an intuitive endeavor), this secondary camera control can also be used to zoom into the environment and to provide your view with a better anchor point.
From the beginning of the game, I found this functionality vital, as I noticed the Princess would quickly move into a position (by my own direction) that was outside of my field of vision or that some object now obstructed my view of where she would need to be pointed next. The only problem with trying to resolve the issue was that I frequently got myself tangled within the tower in no better position to assist the Princess than before. Sometimes I felt that my camera controller wasn’t acting precisely the way I intended.
Fortunately, Void Dimension included the ability to autocorrect the camera to a more comfortable place near the Princess’ new location, and with that I was able to progress. I soon relied heavily upon this function, only utilizing the second Move controller to make minor adjustments.
One element of the experience that was regularly gratifying was found at the end of each section of the first world. While the majority of the time, the Princess and her surrounding world are pleasing to the eye (not to mention that she’s adorable), upon completing a section, she comes to life and cheers. For a game that makes its protagonist feel like a mere instrument, these moments were invaluable to my growing affection for the Princess.
In addition to managing to climb the tower successfully, Light Tracer also offers little gems that can be collected along the way. These gems act as currency for players to make a more personalized Princess by purchasing her new outfits.
In all, the first chapter of Light Tracer was not a particularly challenging experience outside of the frequent camera adjustments. A few platforming feats and a boss battle at the end of the demo required a little precision, but not so much that they required extensive thought. However, with the promise of another seven chapters, I can see how the game could grow to be much more challenging — both in its puzzles and its potential platforming asks. Additionally, it seems that much time and care went into the artistic design of not only the environments but also the Princess. So, even if the gameplay doesn’t quite itch your deep puzzle scratch, there’s likely still plenty here for you to enjoy.
Light Tracer releases on PS4 today, September 26, 2017.