Wayward Sky Review – Point and Click (PSVR)
One of the things that I love the most about video games is how they can allow me to take a look at an entirely different world. From Rapture to the Mushroom Kingdom, I’ve been able to journey to some fabulous places over the years. Now with virtual reality, I have a new way of looking at these fantastic worlds. This is incredibly exciting as someone who just likes to drink in a game’s atmosphere.
Uber Entertainment’s Wayward Sky does a great job of giving the player just that, a peek at its outlandish universe filled with chickens that wear aviator goggles and flying fortresses. No real backstory is given to this world, as just serves as the background for an absolutely charming coming-of-age tale about a daughter named Bess trying to rescue her father after they end up stranded on a fantastic looking floating city.
To rescue her father, Bess will have to navigate the city’s sprawling landscape by solving all sorts of puzzles. Despite taking place in virtual reality, Wayward Sky is very much a standard point-and-click puzzle game in design. I got to float above the action as if I was an all-seeing God and was able to guide Bess by simply pointing my PlayStation Move controller around the environment and pressing the trigger. It works exceptionally well, and I really hope to see more adventure games adopt this style for VR.
The puzzles on the other hand, take place from Bess’ perspective. My two Move controllers mimicked her hands, and I was able to interact with wheels I had to turn, buttons I had to flip, and other small interactions. While it’s definitely cool getting to see a pair of virtual hands use your movements, the interactions and puzzle designs are so simple that it’s not really all that interesting. There are a few parts later on where I had to point a hose at some enemies (the only real combat in the game), but beyond that the interactions never felt all that fun.
The bigger issue, and this isn’t the game’s fault, is that PlayStation VR’s tracking technology isn’t dependably great. In the same exact setup and lighting conditions, I would often have these segments go from working perfectly to being completely unplayable. My arms would start moving despite me holding perfectly still, and it got so bad early on that I had to stop playing. Granted, sometimes the stars align and I was able to complete the game without issue, but it’s disappointing that a pleasant experience can be negatively impacted by hardware shortcomings.
Wayward Sky only lasts a few hours, but it tells a beautiful story along the way that wouldn’t seem out of place in a Dreamworks animation film. I’m glad it doesn’t go on for too long, as its brand of puzzle solving would grow stale rather quickly. Instead of having an enjoyable experience sullied, Uber Entertainment instead told the story they wanted to tell and ended the game afterwards. That’s absolutely something that needs to happen more in gaming, and I’m glad to see shorter games become more of a trend.
For those looking to get more bang for their buck, there are some reasons to go back into the world. There are a bunch of collectibles spread across the adventure. These range from wind chimes that Bess has to fix (that are often hidden behind corners) and bronzed eggs. These eggs were particularly fun to find as they are often tucked outside of where Bess is and just in the environment. This gives players a good excuse to take in the gorgeous sights that they see.
While it doesn’t have complex puzzles or interesting mechanics, Wayward Sky does show that adventure games have a wonderful spot in virtual reality. I really hope more developers will take their approach of allowing players to see the world from an omnipresent perspective, as it was really awesome getting to watch a world go about its business underneath my gaze. It’s clear that the game was designed around being in VR and not adapted to be in it, and that makes all the difference here.
When the PlayStation Move tracking doesn’t get in the way, Wayward Sky is a delightful game. Getting to take a peek at the fantastic world that Uber Entertainment has created was fascinating, and they tell a charming story that deals with neglect, death and family. It’s not challenging or overly interesting mechanically, but this fresh take on the adventure genre is worth checking out.
Review code for Wayward Sky provided by publisher. Reviewed on PlayStation 4. For more information on scoring, please read our Review Policy here.