Friday, February 17, 2023


Wanderer is a VR time traveling adventure game that starts in the future where you, in the role of Asher Neumann, are on a way to discover his grandfather's apartment which holds many mysteries. There you discover a watch that can speak and which will accompany you throughout the whole game. Thanks to the completed watch you will be able to traverse time at will. You will travel into the past to different locations where you will be able to change the history and hopefully make the future more bright.


Gameplay-wise the game is more of a point-and-click adventure in the sense that there is only one solution (item) that needs to be used - something that seems like a logical solution, may not be an actual solution. The time traveling aspect of the game is pretty good in this game. You will be slowly uncovering stories from different times. In order to proceed you will need different items that you can find either at the grandfather's room you reach at the beginning of the game or other timelines. If you explore each area you will have a good idea what items will be needed (the only items you can grab) - each will be used at some point. Unfortunately, that is pretty much it for the puzzle game part, the whole game is mostly about this.


Wanderer offers different environments at different times as well which makes the experience more enjoyable, from Nikola Tesla's lab to ancient civilization pyramid in the middle of a jungle. The game looks good in general but rather bare. The 3d models are not of a great quality, colliders are usually pretty bad and animations are hardly smooth which is something that often broke the whatever little immersion I had. The overall look and feel of the game is very good so if you don't mind flat looking textures and some artifacts (flickering) showing through objects you may enjoy the varied environments.

Sound effects in this game are rather immersion breaking, either there are none, they are weird or they come from where they shouldn't. Audio doesn't come from where it originates but rather is based on where you look at. The levels of different sounds, including speech, is not mixed well, so some sounds can get lost and some are simply too loud. Voices can overlap, and hearing what someone has to say is important and there is no going back (you can reload, or ask the watch for a hint). All this breaks the immersion even though voice acting and script is good.

Apart from these, you can also run into invisible walls that are often totally unnecessary reminding you painfully that you are in a game that tries to show you what needs to be done and where you should not wander. Why is the game named Wanderer?

Bugs, bugs and even more bugs

I've played games that were buggy at launch like Cyberpunk 2077 or Witcher but this game has been out over a year and is very buggy. When I started the game I already failed at a croc scene which I had to restart several times in order to be able to proceed. Few minutes later I got stuck right at the beginning of the grandfather's room as I couldn't get through the closed doors. I had to restart the whole game to get through them. When I was happy I managed to get past the issue I realized that some items I threw around the flat are no longer around. This followed throughout the game. I dropped a torch that fell off the bridge and didn't respawn even though it respawned several times when I simply dropped it on the bridge and could physically pick it up. Apart this I also got stuck in other items and had to reload. The colliders were also sometimes problematic when trying to just keep an item at one place. After time traveling sometimes things were not were I left them and it took me a while to figure out where they could possibly be (or remember where I first encounter them, as that is their respawn point). Having a persistent world including items is nice, but it would be great if it actually worked. I got hit by a tank 10 times because my RC car simply vanished.

Thanks to the time traveling system and that traveling puts you always back from where you jumped originally, backtracking is fast unlike in many other games. This is something I welcomed (and probably the reason I finished the game).

Controls and knuckles

If your immersion wasn't broken by visuals, sound, or bugs there is still one more thing to painfully remind you, you are playing a game - controls. The controls are very clunky and that only wanted me to stop playing. The primary action is grabbing items and using them. Each item grabbed has a forced position and you can grab anything from a distance. This may not sound like a problem but the way things are you will often grab the wrong object or immediately drop the grabbed object if the forced position does not really fit your hand position. I used knuckles when playing this game and the position and rotation of the VR hands and my hands did not match. This made any kind of interaction harder. Rotating knobs and pressing buttons was even more clunky. While this is not needed that often, it is often timed (you are being shot at and such).


The watch - Samuel - apart from being your companion also allows you to store items. The inventory starts with one slot that you can make bigger (up to 5 slots). You can unlock those by collecting special crystals and solving a puzzle. The inventory idea is very good one as the game is about using many different items. The truth is that I rather did not use it at all, as the overlay it brings up still allows you to touch or grab items from the environment around you. It was difficult to hit the smaller than thumb eject button or even just grab the small object from the inventory (never managed to take out a mag and put it into my weapon). I resorted to just grabbing two items and jumping as that was less nerve wrecking than trying to force the inventory to work properly.

Otherwise, Samuel is very well written and voice acted. Samuel gives you some facts from the time/world he remembers (our own) and gives you hints when you encounter something new. Sam can also be ejected from your wristband which will make him give you a more specific hint for the task at hand - it will give the hint no matter if you are in the right place or time which may be a bit awkward at times. Thanks to Sam no one should struggle with finishing the game.


This game has a feel of a very early access version of a game. It is very buggy. The developers came with mysterious story, that will take you to parts of the history that some may consider perturbing. It is advertised as a puzzle game but feels more like point-and-click adventure game rather than a game where you have to actually solve something. There are puzzles in the game but you will most likely remember more all the hassle that comes to using items which the game is mostly about. Overall the game looks great and due to time traveling it offers different environments, that unfortunately you cannot really explore much due to invisible walls. Your watch companion gives you hints with his comments about everything that is important sooner or later in the game and can also be ejected to give you a hint about what you have to do.

Unless you have nerves of steel I do not recommend this game in its current state.


Tuesday, January 10, 2023

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild was on my list of games to play for a very long time similarly to previous Zelda titles which were being released on different consoles. This is what made getting to play them a bit harder since this was still pre-Wii U and pre-Switch time. Few years later after the game's release, I finally delved into the open world Breath of the Wild offers.

Open your eyes

The game starts with Link waking up after a regenerating 100 year slumber. After walking out of the Shrine of Restoration Link finds himself on the Great Plateau which is already relatively large area to explore. The Great Plateau is on a high cliff so Link can't leave it before he finds out what his quest is - to defeat Calamity Ganon a huge beast he failed to defeat 100 years ago that devastated Hyrule.

When you reach this point after hours of game play you might still think that this game will be similar to previous Zelda games but it is the moment when you will fully realize it is not as you are suddenly given a freedom that seems to be very rare in games.

Once you makes it out of the Great Plateau it is up to you if you will follow up on one of the main quests or you will just go explore. Each of the locations you are supposed to reach is marked on a map on your Sheikah Slate (one of ancient technology gadgets, helping you on your way). The blinking dots are, as you will notice, in unmapped areas.

In order to get a map you need to climb a Tower and scan the area. This may sound easy, and at first it is, but the further from the central Hyrule the harder it gets to reach and climb the Towers. Thankfully when you triumphantly reach the top of the tower and activate it, you will be able to use it as a fast travel point. From the Tower you can look around and find places of interest that you can mark on the map thanks to Scope function (by pressing the right thumbstick) and then just start a new adventure of getting there. It felt like going geocaching when doing this, just going straight in the direction of the coordinates. Reaching the destination this way may turn out to be a very difficult but it is doable as Link can climb and swim or fly over things on a paraglider. He can get anywhere!

Link cannot do these activities indefinitely though, they all depend on his stamina. When you run out of it, Link either starts walking if he was running, starts falling of a cliff if he was climbing, drowns if he was swimming etc.


There is plenty of places of interest for you to discover but the obvious ones are Shrines - there's 120 of them or even more. In order to find some Shrines you need to complete a quest/puzzle. The Shrines on the Great Plateau serve as a tutorial ones each giving you a rune - an ability you can use. The first two runes allow you to create either spherical or a rectangular bomb out of a thin air and detonate it. Another rune gives you the power of Magnesis which allows you to move metallic objects. The fourth rune - Stasis - allows you to stop time of an object for few seconds. The Shrines outside of the starting area are some sort of mini dungeons that offer a trial - mostly physics based puzzles that usually take minutes to finish. Often you will need to use Link's rune abilities, sometimes the puzzles will be controller motion based and some are combat trials where you 'just' face a Guardian.

The Shrine puzzles can be solved in variety of ways so you don't need to find the one and only way to solve them which is good. Either saves you frustration or makes it more fun. At the end of each shrine a monk will give you an Spirit Orb. Four of these Orbs can be traded for a heart container or stamina container. At first finding Shrines will be easy but later on finding them or reaching them will become a puzzle of its own.


The world you will be exploring has rules and if you learn them you will survive. Most of the rules you'd expect from real life. The first time you will try to enter a snow covered chilly area you will find out that Link starts to lose hearts while shivering with cold. At this point you might realize that the temperature indicator on the screen has a reason to be there. The first storm may be also a revelatory experience when a lightning hits you before you realize what is wrong (Link having a metallic object equipped).

Items in Breath of the Wild break. This will force you to change weapons often, discover their advantages or disadvantages or sometimes simply decide not to use them and save them for either different activity or different encounter. For example, if you want to chop trees you may want to use an woodcutter's axe, if you want to mine ore you may want to use use iron sledgehammer and if you want to break someone's shield you want to use a heavy weapon. There's plenty weapons around and enemies also drop them and I don't mean as a 'drop' when they are defeated. If you stun them, they will release their grips on weapons or shields so you can snatch them and use them against them.

Day and night are also different. During the night there are undead monsters lurking that will come out of nowhere (the ground). Note that undead monsters don't die. On the other hand flesh and blood monsters also need to sleep and you can sneak up to them.

Fauna and flora differs in different regions and some can only be encountered during the night or certain weather. If you think this is something for decorative purposes, you are wrong. One of the activities you will most likely do a lot in the game is - cooking. Eating food is what recovers Link's hearts. Cooked food can recover more hearts or even give him special abilities (resistance to cold, higher attack etc.) and for that you need to look for different kind of ingredients.

There is no cooking tutorial but each ingredient or monster part has a description which will give you a hint on what it does (it follows a simple logic). Once you figure out the rules for cooking you can prepare all the meals and elixirs you will need on your adventures. While trying you might end up preparing a 'Dubiously looking food' (that is actually edible).

In order to survive in the wilderness you will also need to learn how to fight. At first just picking up a tree branch and beating up Bokoblins with it will be good enough but for stronger enemies you may need to either come up with a combat strategy or learn how to parry. You have access to melee weapons and ranged weapons (just bows). There's a wide variety of them and you will always want to have certain types in your inventory. The inventory slots are very limited. There is a way to get more but at a cost - you need to find the creature that can give you more slots in exchange for Korok leaves that can sometimes be hard to find (mini puzzles).


Breath of the Wild feels definitely like a Zelda game even though it is vastly different. It feels more like playing a game from decades ago when you were simply thrown into the game and it was up to you to figure out what to do and where to go next. There are no endless tutorials and you don't need to blindly follow a scripted story. Instead you are free to roam a huge open world and if you wish you can complete the 5 given main quests one day. I highly recommend doing the Divine Beast quests because those are nice little dungeons. The world in Breath of the Wild has its mechanics and it is up to you to adapt. While Link doesn't get any better in terms of stats for example, it is you who gets to know the world and mechanics better. The more you discover the easier is to survive. If by a chance you haven't played this game yet, go get it and play it.

And if by a chance you can't play BotW just yet, go visit Breath of the Wild world in VRChat. Honestly, the way how the game works this would be great in virtual reality. Doing backflips wouldn't probably work but there are many things that would work and I treated the game more like a VR one rather than a traditional one.

Ren (stsungjp on Twitter)

Friday, November 25, 2022


Stray was a long awaited game by many cat lovers including me. When you first start the game you are shown a stray cat from the 3rd person. You can control it and your first task is to play with the other strays that are in the area. After watching several beautiful playful scenes including these kitties you embark on what seems to be a routine daily journey hopping from one pipe to another. At one point though the cat falls and lands in what seems to be an abandoned city. It turns out to be not so abandoned as the cat will encounter humanoid robots with human behavior. Your task is to get back to the Outside from which the cat came. The cat is joined by B-12 drone that helps the cat and the player to reach the goal.

Stray is a straightforward platforming game that includes several puzzles and offers additional sidequests. While the story and gameplay may be simple, the game bursts with life and cuteness even in this cyberpunk devastated and mostly abandoned city. You explore the world and discover more about the city and its history - about what actually happened.

While roaming you can also simply be a cat, you can scratch rugs, walk over keyboards, nuzzle robots, run under their legs, knock objects off, meow or simply sleep.

The platforming part is rather easy, you simply follow directions that the game provides in cues that are more or less noticeable and if you need help all you need to do is ask your companion robot. You use spacebar to jump and the cat does it automatically meaning that if you are really bad at jumping like me, you don't need to be afraid of playing the game. On the other hand it also takes the effort from you and for some this can be a downside as well. There are several chase parts in which you have to run and avoid mysterious creatures though.

The visuals of the game are wonderful. All the environments are nicely crafted. The combination of dark city with its neon signs blinking and with nature creeping in is wonderful to watch. The lightning all this creates is perfect for really nice shots but sadly cats don't take selfies.

The animations are what breath life into the game. This mostly applies to the cat itself. If you ever had a feline companion at home you will be able to see how truthful the digital cat's behavior is. You can truly feel like a cat playing this game.

Stray is a short (several hours long) puzzle platformer game that puts you in a role of a cat finding a way to its home territory. The game has a simple linear story but offers two open environments to be explored. The game is played from the perspective of a cat meaning that in order to traverse these environments the player needs to think like a cat - spotting a ladder and wanting to use it is not what a cat would do since it can simply jump. The player is free to behave like a cat and some of these cat activities will need to be used to solve puzzles in the game.

Recommended to anyone who just wants to enjoy a very well crafted beautiful game featuring a feline protagonist.

Ren (stsungjp @twitter)

Friday, September 30, 2022

Dyschronia: Chronos Alternate Episode I

Dyschronia is one of the games that caught my eye at TGS and there isn't many games that make me want to buy them on day 1, especially if they are for Quest (yay for my 1st review on this store). Since the name also involves 'Time' in it I expected a game featuring time travel and was very interested in how that would feel in VR, and the game delivered that.

The game takes place in an artificial marine city named Astrum Close where citizens are guarded from the contaminated outside world. All the citizens are connected via what is called Augmented Dreaming. Everyone shares their feelings there and whenever someone starts to feel bad a Supervisor can help them feel better. This way everyone lives in peace and crime practically doesn't exist - until day 1 of you - Hal Scion - being named a Special Supervisor. The city goes under lockdown when the city's founder is found dead, murdered. Hal is assigned to lead the investigation. Hal has a special ability that allows him to view memories linked with items he touches. Thanks to this ability you will have the ability to find information no one else can. These information though still need to be proven in order to be used at trial.

While the player is free to roam, the game progresses in a linear way. You could say that this game is a visual novel, but it is in 3d, in virtual reality, and you are the protagonist. It is a totally different experience and very immersive one. The story is very compelling. It may seem simple at first but with all the information you uncover, you will come to understand that there is way more going on than just 'almost impossible murder'.

Dyschronia also features one short 'stealth' part which is a nice refreshing - or frustrating - moment. It was handled very well from my point of view since it didn't feel forced but rather something you'd expect from that kind of situation.

The game play this is very easy, you walk around, talk to people by touching speech bubbles, scan objects, grab them, use them etc. You can also give headpats to Lily, little cute robot. The controls are simple and easy to use but they are meant for a right handed person and there does not seem to be a way to switch them to the left hand. The game offers free locomotion that is rather slow, teleportation and hybrid locomotion.

The graphics of the game are very good, the ideal kind that doesn't age (think Playstation 2 cell shaded Japanese RPG games) with time. The UI is stellar. I've played many games but this is probably the first game that made the UI feel like part of the world (which it is part of). It shows how we could actually use AR in the future - or at least how other games could use it. It added a lot to the immersion.

As for sound, there is music playing during the whole time which could make it less immersive for some. The music is beautiful but unfortunately is very loud compared to the character voices, especially when they are standing a little bit further away. I liked the voice acting a lot (Japanese), but sometimes it seemed to me that Hal was taking ages to say 'hmph' or something like that and these were always way louder than his usual speech level.

The only downsides of the game for me were constant load times (because of playing it on Quest?), floating in space (needing to recenter often) and sometimes not being able to hear what a character standing further away was saying. Apart from that, a truly amazing game.

Dyschronia is a story-driven adventure game, more of an immersive experience, in which you will truly become a Supervisor investigating a murder. The level of immersion is unlike from any other game I played. There is so much done right in this game, well chosen and done graphics, UI, story, characters, time travel. I highly recommend the game for the story and immersion to anyone who likes to experience being in someone else's shoes and just go with the story.

The game is much better than my review may make you think it is!

Big thanks to the developers. I can't wait for Episode 2 and 3. And thank you for thanking US.


Wednesday, September 21, 2022

DJMAX Respect V

I was introduced to DJMAX what seems to be ages ago when a rhythm game player came to me and asked if I can try the game out. I was like 'sure, why not'. What I did not know was that he let me play the hardest song in the game and see how I'd do. I cleared the song to his astonishment. I asked what the game it was and that is how I discovered DJMAX. It became one of my most played games on PSP.

Wait, another vertical scrolling rhythm game?

DJMAX is a game that had a very big following and could have reached mainstream if it was released on more platforms earlier. That decision came rather late. Relatively recently DJMAX made it to PC, that is with DJMAX Respect V. DJMAX is a vertical scrolling rhythm game with several button modes. You can start with 4 button play, progress to 5 buttons, then 6 buttons and eventually end up playing 8 buttons. Apart pressing the regular buttons there might appear a slide note from time to time, there are two slide notes (mapped to Shift keys on PC) and they add little bit more complexity to the game. Since this is a game that was meant to be played with d-pad and buttons the song charts are made the way that it is possible to play them with these - players used to play rhythm games meant for keyboard play may wonder why there's just certain combinations used in the charts.

There are long notes in the game that you need to press as well, just hold them and release them on time. Each note be it a regular note or long note are being judged - you get judgment from 1% to 100% depending on how close to being on time you were. The timing windows are actually huge which makes it easier to hit a note (if you miss by a chance you can just press it again to still hit it).

The timing in the game is very lax (feels even more lax compared to the PSP games). It is the combo, as in many Korean games, that counts the most with you keeping max Fever going. There is a Fever bar that fills with each note confirmation, when it gets full you need to activate it to get a 2x multiplier. Then you continue to fill it again. When you fill it and activate it in time you get a higher multiplier for everything (3x). The maximum multiplier you can get is 5x which will stay for as long as you manage to fill the bar and activate Fever in time.

Each song has a difficulty shown in stars. It ranges from the easiest 1 to the hardest 15 for the 'playstation control' charts. There is another scale marked SC which is meant for keyboard play and starts around 3 and goes to 15 as well and will introduce a playstation player to more patterns and chord combinations making it even way harder - a PC VSRG player will find these SC difficulties more familiar. Note that a SC 3 charts is more like playstation 8 in terms of difficulty.

There are several modes in which you can play, there is Air that lets you play a randomly chosen song or just watch and comment on it. There's Freestyle mode where you can pick any song you want and get the best score. Then there's Online play where you play against other players either using a ladder system or just playing for fun. Lastly there is Mission mode in which you complete a set of songs with certain modifiers or conditions.

So much music
DJMAX offers a wide range of music styles. Many of the songs may be new to non-rhythm game players but there is a lot to choose from and the music is good. For rhythm game enjoyers there are DLCs from previous versions of the game including Technika but also from other rhythm games like Chunithm, Deemo, Muse Dash, Groove Coaster etc. The base game gives you over 150 tracks (there are free tracks added from time to time). All these songs have music videos that you can unlock and watch in the game as well.

DJMAX has style
Korean games tend to look great and DJMAX is not an exception. It looks simply great. It has a great style, and not just one. You can unlock more skins and also customize the look of in-game when you are actually trying to read the charts and pressing buttons. Not many games can rival the look of this game.

In order to unlock customizations including songs you need to fulfill certain criteria. There is a lot of achievements to get in the game and are neatly presented to you. Some may seem impossible to get but when you get them you will feel rewarded. There is no other game that motivated me enough to actually hunt the achievements!

Not everything is great...
DJMAX is a great game that offers a lot to the player but unfortunately there are few things to note. First the game uses anti-cheat Xigncode which requires an internet connection. There is no way to play the game offline or with a bad internet connection. Second thing to note is that the game is very expensive. To this date the total of the game including DLCs would total for me to 388EUR. It is for a lot of content though but there is even more content that is behind a paywall. Each season you can get 'free' stuff, even a skin if you finish all steps. That you can only get if you get a battle pass though. You can even pay for it to automatically unlock at the end of the season. Means throwing a lot of money at Neowiz.

The last thing I'm not fond of is the fact that Steam achievements expect you to have those expensive DLCs. Perfecting this game means a lot of money spent.

You can clearly see that DJMAX was created with love. It has everything players could possibly hope for in a rhythm game. It is beautiful to look at, offers 150+ songs of various genres, has different button modes and game modes and gets many DLCs with more great music. So far it may be the only game coming from a different platform that runs without any issue on PC. Unfortunately the game needs constant internet connection and is rather expensive.

I can highly recommend this game to anyone who likes to press buttons at high speed.