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Few VR games attempt to play around with the actual idea of virtual reality itself. Games like Beat Saber (our review) and Ninja Legends (our review) are just elevated first-person experiences, while games like Moss (our review) and Republique VR (our review) are essentially third-person experiences with first-person VR gimmickry.
On the surface, Virtual Virtual Reality is another title that could be tossed in the “elevated first-person experiences” bucket, but it adds an extra layer on top that makes it surprisingly more interesting than most VR gimmicks. Simply put, you hop between multiple miniature virtual worlds, with an overarching story-driven goal that ties them all together—and that story is well-written and compelling in all the right ways.
Disclaimer: My copy of Virtual Virtual Reality was provided by Tender Claws. However, my opinions in this review are solely my own and have not been influenced by Tender Claws in any way.
The best thing about Virtual Virtual Reality is its fresh story premise and clever gameplay concept. In it, you play as one of the few humans remaining in a futuristic world that’s overrun by artificial intelligence. With robots able to take care of everything, there’s only one thing a human like you can do now: provide human companionship to lonely AIs.
As an employee of Activitude’s Virtual Labor System, you’ll encounter various AI clients who each want you to do something different, and each client encounter takes place in a separate virtual world that you enter by equipping an in-game virtual headset. These headsets are ubiquitous throughout the virtual worlds, and you can dive deep, deep, deep into multiple virtual layers by wearing headset after headset.
That’s the general idea. But there’s more to it than that. I won’t say anything more regarding the story at risk of spoiling the fun, but the overall ride is fun, intriguing, and thrilling.
This would all fall very flat if it weren’t for the top-notch writing and voice acting all around. Virtual Virtual Reality is a satirical look at a possible future overrun by AIs, but it oozes with humanity. The characters exhibit the full range of human emotions: anger, humor, frustration, grief, sarcasm. Oh, there’s lots and lots of sarcasm. It’s surreal and absurd and always keeps you on your toes with unexpected surprises and amusing moments—and it’s just so fun from start to finish.
The subtitles are optional, but I found them helpful with all the dialogue throughout the game. I wish more virtual reality games used this kind of subtitling system! Props to Tender Claws for implementing it.
I enjoyed my time with Virtual Virtual Reality, but it was a short experience at just over 2 hours of play time. It doesn’t have much replayability, unless you have a collector’s personality and want to discover all of the 50+ virtual worlds hidden throughout the world of Activitude. In terms of value, you’ll have to treat it the same way you’d view watching a film in the cinema: a one-time entry fee for a comical experience.
Which brings me to my next complaint: calling Virtual Virtual Reality a game is quite a stretch. It’s interactive, but it’s a relatively linear story through and through, without much for you to do except click on objects as you discover them.
There’s nothing at stake, no obstacles in your way as you progress. Sure, at certain points you can make mistakes and you’ll end up being “pulled out” of your virtual world back to the main lobby, but you can just go right ahead and keep playing. It’s more of an inconvenience than a penalty, and it gets rather grating when you aren’t sure what to do next but keep getting pulled back to the lobby because you aren’t doing the “right thing.”
Virtual Virtual Reality is one of the cheaper virtual reality games currently available. If you’re a fan of narrative experiences that don’t require much thinking, and if you’re in the mood for lighthearted fun and laughter, then it will be an excellent buy. But if you’re looking for an actual game to play, you’re better off with another title.
Virtual Virtual RealityVirtual Virtual Reality
- Smart, novel, creative concept that's wholly unique
- Humorous writing brings the immersive experience to life
- Excellent voice acting all around, across many characters
- Successfully captures dozens of moods and atmospheres
- Frustratingly repetitive when you don't know what you're supposed to do next
- Not much of a game, more of an interactive experience
- Only about 2 hours of gameplay