Review: Wayward Sky
Wayward Sky immediately captured my imagination in a way I wasn’t expecting, the transition from “point and click” to “look and click” in relation to VR just makes so much sense. I never gave much thought to the idea of a traditional adventure game in VR, but now that it’s in my head, I can’t help but think of how cool that could be. Wayward Sky doesn’t quite go all the way with it, it’s rather short and a bit too simple for its own good, but what’s there is solid and the story manages to hit some pretty emotional notes.
The adventure begins when Bess and her father are shot down by a mysterious fortress that emerges through the clouds, which ultimately leads to Bess’s father being kidnapped by a giant robot. From there you’ll help Bess solve puzzles, discover secret collectibles, befriend robots, save her dad, and uncover the story behind the floating fortress and its robot inhabitants. One part of the story focuses on Bess and her father’s relationship, which is then juxtaposed with the story of the fortress and how the robots came to inhabit it. Some interesting comparisons can be drawn and the game doesn’t shy away from confronting how certain characters deal with tragedy. The game’s short length (around 3-4 hours) makes for a pretty basic approach to certain themes, but the story is told well and has a pretty uplifting conclusion that rounds out the game quite nicely. There’s also some really well done story segments between chapters done in a style that feels like it’s right out of a pop-up storybook. These story bits look great and especially are cool to see in VR.
Throughout most of Wayward Sky you’ll simply “point and click” any area in the level to have Bess walk in that direction, secrets can be acquired by simply clicking on them, and any object that can be interacted with will glow when you point your cursor at it. When Bess interacts with an object the game will enter a first person mode, complete with two floating hands to mirror your Move controllers, and require you to solve a pretty simple puzzle. Sometimes you’ll need to flip switches until every light on the circuit board turns green, and in other instances you’ll take control of a large crane in an effort to move large objects out of the way. Later on Bess will gain the ability to give commands to robots, traverse zip-lines, and spray enemy robots with a large fire-hose. What’s there is cool, it really does demonstrate a basic look at what an adventure game could be like in VR, I just can’t help but wish that the game would do a bit more with what it has. Some more interesting and difficult puzzles later in the game would be welcome.
In spite of any shortcomings it may have, Wayward Sky is very cool and the game presents a fantastic sense of scale in VR. The fortress is gigantic, there are plenty of opportunities to look around and take in the view from wherever you are in the game, and there’s especially a moment with a particular giant robot that really deserves to be seen for yourself. I’ve also come to appreciate the start menu, which works as a bit of a toy box to play around with dominoes, toy planes, and a handful of other little toys. It’s the kind of thing that’ll get you really excited for the future of adventure games in VR, even if it sticks to very simple puzzles a bit too much.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes. For more info on our review policy click here.
What I Like:
- Adopting point-and-click to look-and-click for VR works well and just makes sense
- Looking in and around the environment to find hidden collectibles is fun
- The story sections between chapters
- Going into first person to interact with puzzles
- The sense of scale when you see some of the larger robots and structures in the game
What I Dislike:
- I wish the puzzles got a little more difficult/complex as the game went on.