PSVR Impressions: Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes
I haven’t had a lot of time to dig into Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, at least not enough for a full review, but the few hours I’ve spent with the game thus far have led to some of my favorite moments in VR. The premise for the game is quite simple, one person wears the PSVR headset and must defuse a bomb within the given time limit. To do this they’ll need the help of “Experts” with a handy Bomb Defusal Manual that contains instructions of defusing any number of complex mechanisms that might be attached to a bomb. It’s a game that requires you to be fast and precise in how you communicate. The clock is ticking.
Collin and I spent a handful of hours in party chat on PSN and successfully defused all sorts of bombs – we also failed miserably just as many times. Keep Talking is probably best played with friends in the same room, but in our experience, the game works totally fine if you’ve got a friend to join party chat with you. The PSVR headset has a microphone built in and the other player just needs to pull up the Bomb Defusal Manual on the web (or print it out).
Bombs are generally made up of a handful of modules to work through and a time limit to do them in. There are other settings that can be activated that’ll make the game harder, but the game is good about keeping things pretty simple at first. For the sake of these impressions, we’ll walk through a simple bomb to illustrate how the game works. Let’s say that we have a bomb set to three minutes with three modules. The first module is a set of wires, we’ll say 6, with an assorted array of colors. The person in the headset would then relay this information to anyone with the manual. However, keeping the time limit in mind, it’s best to keep descriptions really simple, so perhaps, in this case, you might say “Simple wires: Yellow, Yellow, White, Black, Red, Blue”. This tells the players with the manual what kind of module it is, the exact color order, and the number of wires. With that exact information the experts can easily respond with what wire needs to be cut and that’s one module down. The next module looks similar to a Simon Says game and the third a big blue button that says “Press”. Once again, it all comes down to how efficiently players can communicate information back-and-forth. Once all modules are complete, the bomb will deactivate, and nobody explodes.
So much of the fun initially is trying to come up with your own lingo for every module. For instance Collin and I tackled a module focused on symbols by giving every symbol an easy to remember name; “God of War, Stick Person, Backwards C, etc.”. Once you’ve mastered a module it then becomes incredibly rewarding to successfully power through them like true experts. Communication is so important that it’s vital the “expert” understands what you’re trying to say. In that respect, I think Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes could potentially be an excellent ice breaker at parties. Imagine putting complete strangers together and asking them to defuse a few bombs. It’d be difficult, but what better way to get to know someone than with the threat of a bomb looming overhead?
With some progression, the game also introduces recurring elements that go off periodically to distract you from the bomb defusing process. Sometimes that’s an alarm clock that you need to hit the snooze button on, the lights in the room might go out making it nearly impossible to see, and eventually you’ll see modules placed in the bomb that must repeatedly be deactivated. There’s also a free play mode that gives plenty of control over the type of bomb you want to defuse. Collin and I spent between four and five hours attempting to defuse bombs and I feel like there’s still more to see and even more ways we can improve. Free play should make this one easy to return to while also providing a decent challenge that’s completely adjustable.
I’m sure it’s partially due to the game having already been released on the PC and the general flood of games this time of year, but it feels like I’ve seen very few people discuss this game since its PSVR release. Which is too bad because it’s genuinely one of my favorite VR games to date. Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a pretty easy recommendation for me, no matter if you have friends locally or online.