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Wednesday, January 3, 2024 2:00:55 PM

Labyrinthine Review (Disander)

This is a flat screen walking simulator that won VR game of the year. Absolute nonsense. Probably VR functionality of this game was made in a week with VR assets from Unity with very little effort. On top of that, 99% of players who voted haven't even played a single VR game in their life. Wtf is this steam? This is just not fair. There is almost no AAA games in VR and there are only small and indie companies that put their heart and soul into making these games and pushing VR industry forward. They have to be praised and recognized for this. Instead games like this strip off actual VR developers from their minute of fame that they totally deserve.
Also games that support VR knock down actual VR games from most played VR games in charts. For example War Thunder is on top of that list and a lot of other flat screen games but 99% of their players are non VR users. Actual VR games are in the bottom of that list.
This is not mistake of the developers who make VR support for their flat screen games but huge mistake from Steam and Valve. Actual VR games and VR supported games should have distinct separation in such stats and the reward of VR game of the year should be only for actual VR games. Games like Labyrinthine should compete in regular game of the year. And people who don't own a VR headset and didn't play a single VR game on their account shouldn't be able to vote for VR game of the year. 99% of steam users are flat screen gamers, they don't know sh*t about VR and randomly vote or vote for flat screen game that happened to be in VR game of the year category. It is really unfair for actual VR developers as VR community is very small and can't over-vote such massive number of flat screen players.
If you say: if it supports VR then it is a VR game and should compete with VR games. Ok, now I'll explain why Labyrinthine is bad game and poor VR game and doesn't deserve the reward. In its core, Labyrinthine is just a walking simulator in a maze with a bunch of puzzles. I'm kind of person that can be easily scared in horror games and Labyrinthine is a poor horror game. There are couple of monsters that wander around in the maze but they are not really scary. Like a call of duty zombie and a witch. Yeah they make loud "scary" sounds but they are implemented in very simple way that they just follow you and that's it. When I saw the zombie I was like "Ok, who cares? I don't." Absolute indifference. When they chase you there is no sense of speed and adrenaline because apparently top speed of players and monsters are so slow, it is not running it is kinda fast walking. And you just walkaway from the monsters. And even if they get you then your teammates can easily revive you. If you die, then you spawn at start of the level keeping all progression. Basically a teleport to spawn. Absolutely no punishment for death.
There is no horror atmosphere, the game doesn't make you feel uneasy. There is no feeling that someone is watching you, or something is coming for you, etc. The game is boring, you just walk around in a huge mazes (btw mazes are boring in their concept). The only decent part is puzzles, they are not really hard but it is the only thing that makes you feel engaged in the game.
Btw in each level there are 30 collectible books, they all look the same, they don't have any gameplay implications or any relation to story. There are so many of them that it feels like they are everywhere, in each corner of the maze. And they were added just for the sake of it, for an achievement and nothing more, to give something else to do in this boring game. Objectively absolutely idiotic game design choice. If you add collectibles to a game make them unique and give them some story/lore flavor at very least.
As for VR experience, well, you can walk and jump. Use your hand to point flashlight and throw glow sticks. That's it. Bare bones implementation of VR. There is not animations or VR collisions with puzzles, you use your hand just as pointer to interact with them. There is nothing remarkable in VR in this game.
So that's why I don't recommend this game and surely we need to protest against steam because giving VR GAME OF THE YEAR award to low effort vr ports is just nonsense.