It is isn’t every day you stumble onto a click-and-point adventure game in the modern world, and it’s not very often I get one I enjoy. But thanks to GOG.com I managed to get my hands on VirtuaVerse. I’m glad I did, this kept me engrossed for hours with its stunning cyberpunk backdrops and thought-provoking puzzles. Developer: Theta DivisionPublisher: Blood MusicPlatforms: […]
It is isn’t every day you stumble onto a click-and-point adventure game in the modern world, and it’s not very often I get one I enjoy. But thanks to GOG.com I managed to get my hands on VirtuaVerse. I’m glad I did, this kept me engrossed for hours with its stunning cyberpunk backdrops and thought-provoking puzzles.
Developer: Theta Division
Publisher: Blood Music
Genre: Click-and-Point Adventure
Release Date: 12 May 2020
Your Everyday Fella
VirtuaVerse introduces us to Nathan, a hardware smuggler. He awakes to find his longterm girlfriend, Jay, missing, with nothing more than a message written on the mirror. Nathan doesn’t have any noble intentions, he simply just want to find her and fix his AVR googles. Heading off to town and speaking with the local, you find out the situation may be a lot more complicated than first seen.
At first, Nathan was just an enthusiastic boyfriend, he walks over everyone to get what he wants. While getting the AVR googles fixed, he has committed a multitude of crimes; including blackmail, drug dealing and attempted murder and that’s even before the game begins. I thought I was in for a long and flimsy story, but as it unfolds, it becomes more interesting as you soon discover that Jay is working for a group called the Blades. An underground hacking organisation is looking to continue the fight against AI and “permanent reality”.
Despite the Cyberpunk setting, there is very little violence involved, and it’s Nathan and the Blades that provide the only scenes of violence throughout. This develops a great delicacy between good and evil. The Blades have good intentions by trying to stop the “permanent reality” and the alienation of the human race. Still, they also kill some cold-blooded for having the wrong tattoo. While Nathan is willing to ruin peoples lives to get what he wants despite his willingness to save the world.
VirtuaVerse does a great job of telling the story of not only the most toxic relationship in the history of gaming but also the story of an everyday guy who gets in over his head and ends up trying to save the world.
Solve the Puzzles, Unlock the World
The puzzles in VirtuaVerse often seem like long and tedious affairs, requiring the player to read and memorise a lot of what is said by NPCs among a load of lore and character development. The worst part is you can’t go back to those conversations, and there’s no record of them. You are presented with a retro-futuristic smartwatch, which provides little to no help. I felt this could have been used to better use with a more detailed journal system. This could have helped save a lot of time, where I was almost felt like just leaving the game.
The world is presented using multiple screens which the player can go back and forth to, which enhances the need to remember things over a long period of times. While you also obtain a large inventory which will challenge the likes of Skyrim for carrying junk, but certain items won’t be used until two or three scenes later. To be fair to Theta Division, they do mock this, as Nathan tries to place a ladder in his pocket to some comedic tune.
My last gripe with the puzzle comes in the forms of pixel hunting. It definitely frustrated me at times, flinging the mouse across the screen as I searched and searched for that one tiny pixel in the middle of the screen. This led me to get to the point of searching for the best walkthrough guides, which are in plentiful supply.
Double the Challenge
Despite the flaws, VirtuaVerse does provide a challenging experience, making the player think outside the box and really listen to the world around them. Theta Division encourages the player to really listen and gain an understanding of the wonderfully-crafted world through these challenges. Each new chapter in the game provides a new world for the player, and each is impressive and vast, giving you plenty to enjoy and discover.
On top of this, most worlds are given two realities; virtual and real-life. Part of the challenge requires you to interact with both worlds and re-explore with and without the AVR googles. Enhancing the depth of the game. The blending of virtual and real-life realities are often a trope in Cyberpunk worlds, but instead, Theta Division has used this to create something unique and exciting. As the story unfolded, the more I got sucked in. I don’t want to spoil the game, but you have to push past the first couple of hours to get the real juicy narrative.
VirtuaVerse is a click-and-point adventure that was really challenging with its intricate puzzle designs. Theta Division has done an excellent job of developing an in-depth world with incredible environments. The game takes around 10 hours to complete and pretty much offers one playthrough if you don’t miss the three optional achievements. But I would still say it is worth the money I spent (£12.99) for the compelling narrative and something to keep you ticking till the release of Cyberpunk 2077.