If Hitchhiker has an undeniable charm, he didn’t completely manage to convince us when he was released on flat screen, now let’s see the impact of his move to VR.
After releasing Hitchhiker – A Mystery Game on Apple Arcade then on PC, PS4, Xbox One and Switch last year, the Germans of Mad About Panda decided to wear their title in virtual reality. Still published by Versus Evil, this VR version of the game is available from March 10, 2022 at 19,99€ on the Meta store, both for the Quest 2 and for the Rift. If we had already given our opinion in our test of the original version, we also wanted to take a look at this new port.
copernic, nic, nic
It must be said that the title, apart from the chapter where we find ourselves seated at a dinner table typical of American roads, places us throughout the adventure, or almost, as passenger of various motorists who take us to our memoriesall in subjective view. The software therefore lends itself particularly well to the contemplation of its universe. during the long exchanges you have with your hosts. It therefore seems quite natural to have thought of a VR version, especially since the attractive low-poly graphicswith characters with rather neat faces but with the strawberry lip synclend themselves well to the exercise.
It seems natural to have thought of a VR version.
And it actually works wonderfully, at least when you position yourself correctly to sit comfortably in the seat assigned to us. The game does not really adapt to our location in space and it is therefore up to us to move a little to make things more believable, even if thelack of legs is quite disturbing. Hitchhiker is played of course sitting all the way and in this sense can be addressed to everyone. However, the choppy vehicle animationsespecially with the teacher looking for his dog while turning in circles in the neighborhood, especially when taking abrupt turns, can prove somewhat disturbing for the stomach of the most fragile. These two examples clearly show that efforts to adapt the game to VR are clearly insufficient, but it’s not just that.
One last RV for the road
The software only uses the helmet to direct the gaze, while the controllers are used like a mouse. The grip button is used to point the objects with which you want to interact, and the trigger to validate the actions, but that’s it. So one controller is enough. The very limited gameplay of the game would have benefited from giving us the possibility of manipulating some elements of the decor to immerse ourselves more, but no, we keep the same concept as on a flat screen. And this is even sometimes more difficult to achieve. Where VR could have allowed the title to enhance its gameplay and immersion, it rather militates in the opposite direction, too bad. There is still one thing that has been managed for VR, these are the subtitles (the game has a very good dubbing in English with French subtitles).
Efforts to adapt the game to VR are clearly insufficient.
Indeed, these are part of a rectangle with a black background to be easily readable and accompany the gaze so that we can continue to read them in all circumstances. On the other hand, they can scroll a bit too fast (the doubling is also sometimes cut off before the end of the sentence), and above all the quadrilateral is still of substantial size and awkwardly obscures much of the scene. When the game asks you to choose between several options, on the other hand, you have to think about turn your head to see the text displayed at a fixed point. As for the translation, it has unfortunately not been reviewed, at least not enough, there are always missing words and there are always very strange mistakes or turns of phrase. As for the scenario, with its philosophical reflections, it also remains the same with its basic puzzles to solve.
The road trip has its charmcertainly, with his side contemplative and sometimes under acid, lulled by a quality soundtrackbut the switch to VR did not convince us more than that, lack of real adaptation to virtual reality. Yet there was still potential to be exploited, but this was unfortunately left on the side.