PS VR

Review: 18 Floors – PS4/PSVR

18 Floors is the new, and somewhat misleadingly titled PSVR puzzle game from Aoga Tech and Winking Entertainment. I know what you are thinking, there are no shortage of puzzle games for the PSVR. Besides horror games and wave shooters, (or horrific wave shooters) puzzles games are well represented. Mostly, because they work. Being able to manipulate the clues with your hands, turn them around, pull them closer, or simply lean into something that may need some extra scrutinizing, really ups the immersion. Does 18 Floors set itself apart from the slew of other puzzlers or does it just blend into the strange and macabre scenery? Keep reading and find out.

First of all, 18 Floors looks great. There isn’t a lot happening on-screen at once, so it has to look sharp and it absolutely does. Despite not having any Pro support, it ranks among the best Sony’s little headset has to offer in terms of graphics. The sound isn’t as great, but that is probably mostly due to the fact that there isn’t a lot going on. You’ll hear some spooky noises at times and the sound of whatever you happen to be doing at the time, such as opening cabinet doors and slamming drawers shut. It gets the job done.

Apparently, there is a story here. A completely bizarre, sci-fi-ish story that I found at the game’s website, but as you play through the first two floors (levels), you wouldn’t know what it is. They don’t bog you down with narration and you’ll find no notes to explain what you’re doing here. Instead, you’ll just find a room full of clues. Clues to some of the most difficult puzzles I’ve ever seen. The kinds that are frustrating and complex, and the kind that make you feel so good when you finally solve them, or feel slightly stupid when you can’t, and instead google the answer. Thank you random Youtubers and redditors for the assist (or two…).

You’ll need to use your Move controllers here, and I’m sorry to say it’s teleport only with click turning. Surprisingly, this didn’t really bother me. Not having more options here would have ruined most games for me, but this is a puzzle game. There are no enemies to avoid and the rooms are small. Of course, I would have preferred full locomotion and smooth turning, but this is the one type of game where these types of limitations are mostly tolerable.

Besides that, the game looks great, and the puzzles are complex and smart. But as always, there are a couple negatives that I have to get into. The first one is a big one. There are only two levels, or floors, as of this writing. The developer has reached out and assured us that a few more levels are imminent and they will be free. There is no word on when or how expensive any future DLC will be.

[Update: Q4, 2018, according to an email received by Chris.]

I’m not going to kill this indie developer for dropping a game that isn’t completely finished, although naming the game 18 Floors when only 2 floors are available was probably not the best idea. But the two floors that are available are unique, and as I said, extremely well done. If they manage to someday release the other sixteen floors without charging too much, then it would be an easy recommendation. As it stands, the two levels already offered me several hours of gameplay, and I had to cheat more than once. Maybe you’re smarter than me and you’ll solve these two rooms with less trouble, and therefore making the game less of a value to you. Impossible to say, but as I said, I’m not going to kill them over this decision. I don’t love it, but the rest of the internet has already handled that for me.

My biggest complaint isn’t the unfinished game, it’s the curious lack of a way to adjust my height. I have my camera placed about 7 feet high where it works better for literally every game I own. But leaving the camera up high for 18 Floors means I am about 3 feet tall and no amount of holding the option button will fix it. The only solution that I could find is setting the camera below the tv, which, how I have my cables routed, makes this a time-consuming hassle. For my setup, having the camera below the TV means I either have to sacrifice being able to reach above my head or all of the way to the floor. Which is why the camera above pointing down is the superior position. An option to control the player’s height would have solved this easily avoidable issue. Most may not have an issue with this, but for me, the idea of messing around with my system just to play this game is one extra barrier that nobody needs.

The truth is, 18 Floors should have been the best puzzle/room-escape game on the PSVR, but the decision to release it before they had more floors complete and the weird height thing, and we’re left with a missed opportunity. It’s too bad because what 18 Floors does right, the puzzles, and the look, they absolutely nailed. In the end, if you love puzzle games, and you can trust the developer that more levels are coming, then it’s worth your time and money. If not, then I suggest you wait until they release a few more levels to see if they can maintain the quality.

18 Floors PSVR Review
  • 5.5/10
    Overall - Not Bad - 5.5/10
5.5/10

Summary

Only 2 of the 18 floors are currently available, but the two that are here are extremely complex and well done. The graphics are among the best PSVR has to offer, but forcing me to place the camera in a position that doesn't work for any other game I play is a hassle, and is frustrating on multiple levels. Despite the promise of 2 new floors as a free add on, I still can't recommend this game to anyone other than hardcore puzzle fans.

Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy. 

Reviewed using base PS4. 

Comments

When Jeremy isn’t writing books or playing video games, he’s living his life one random movie references at a time.

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