I’ve always loved the concept of time travel. Back to the Future is my favourite movie, and I actually really liked Deja Vu with Denzel Washington, even if the science was a bit… Non-existent.
It’s a shame, then, that Time Machine VR – a game that should literally speak to me in my own voice – fails to make time travel appealing, at least in the realm of video games. It’s not terrible by any means, but it doesn’t exactly elicit the same excitement I get when I even think about Doc Brown screaming “Great Scott!”. That guy’s a top dude.
You play the voiceless traveller in Time Machine VR, a man (or lady) who is being sent back to the Jurassic period of the Earth’s history to help the present-day scientists do away with some nasty virus or disease or something. The story was boring, so boring that I can’t say I remember exactly what was going on. One moment I’m in a simulation, the next I’m underwater with… Turtles. Or things that looked suspiciously like turtles. They soon got eaten so they don’t really matter that much, but what ate them was far more interesting and relevant.
The game is played entirely with the DualShock 4 controller. The sticks are used to navigate your time machine – a spherical vehicle of sorts that can dive the oceans of float up in the air – while you peek around by moving your head with the PSVR headset on. It works well enough and I can’t say it ever had me reaching for my chunder bucket. The triggers are used to tag or scan the different dino-beasts from the past for various reasons. It’s not as exciting as you might think, though, as it’s all very simple.
One neat little mechanic was the ability to slow down time to the point that it’s almost like time stood still. It’s useful for when you’re getting too close to a predator that’d love to chomp on your and your fancy time machine. Simply hold L2 and time comes to a standstill, or at least almost a standstill, giving you ample time to drift away while giving the finger to poor creature that just wanted a meal.
While the story may be a bit of a snooze-fest with thrill coming few and far between, I couldn’t help but admire the attention to detail and the chilled nature of the game. I may have found it boring, but at the same time I was quite happy to be having a mooch around in the past. I enjoyed getting as close to the ferocious dinos as I could (no, I can’t name them, I’m not that much of a nerd…) before pausing time and retreating to safety. The main problem is that there’s just enough to it; the game’s levels are very limited in scope and you’ll find yourself doing the same actions throughout which, over the short couple of hours this runs for, gets old fast.
Time Machine VR leans on the short side, though you can always go back and do some exploring to see the sights, as well as collect those precious trophies that players seem so fond of. Personally, one playthrough was enough for me and I don’t think I’ll going back anytime soon. It’s an immersive experience for sure, but it’s just a touch too short to be considered A) value for money and B) great entertainment, and isn’t that what PSVR is supposed to be about? Great entertainment? I’d recommend waiting for a future sale or a price drop before you take the journey back to the past.
Time Machine VR PS4/PSVR Review
Time Machine VR sounds like a great idea on paper but its execution is somewhat off. It's neat to be able to mooch around and explore while dinosaurs wander around you, but the thrills only last so long. A short running time and a high price-point make this journey through a time an "are we there yet?" slog.
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* Reviewed using a PS4 Slim, not a PS4 Pro.