Pixar animation veterans are joining forces with those from LucasFilm and Telltale Games to make what could be the ultimate puzzle game for virtual reality. Bounce is coming soon to HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. Sorry, PlayStation VR fans, you might have to wait this time.
Virtual reality could be the next big trend in video gaming, and both Sony and Microsoft are attempting to cash in on it with headset compatibility. Upcoming titles like Batman VR, Here They Lie, Resident Evil 7, and many more are expected to bring old and new franchises to a headset near you.
Of course, with all new ideas will come gamers who discount it as the next gimmick, a passing trend that will be collecting dust by the end of the year. They’re saying that about virtual reality games, even though horror and puzzle titles could bring the fun to another level. Let’s go ahead and forget everything about Nintendo’s Virtual Boy for now.
We know Pixar animation best from films like Inside Out, Toy Story, and The Incredibles, where they appear to rival Disney when they aren’t working with them. LucasFilm isn’t so well known for their animation, but Star Wars and Indiana Jones are undeniable hit franchises. Telltale Games is a developer whose works often tackle popular TV shows like The Walking Dead and the recent re-imagining of Batman.
Veterans from those three companies have joined to create Steel Wool Studios, and they’re tackling virtual reality with a game which could be a surprise hit with the puzzle fans. Portal fans might feel somewhat at home with Bounce, a game where you control the environment as a robot interacts with it. Your goal in each level is to get the robot, named D1G-B, through a portal to the next one using slings, slides, tractor beams, and other aspects of the environment.
— SteelWoolStudios (@SteelWoolStudio) October 20, 2016
The concept is based on physics, unlike most puzzle titles, so there are no falling blocks, pills, or pieces of candy to position as they fill up a well. As you navigate the 50 rooms, each one gets more frantic as moving blocks will attempt to stop you, lasers will attempt to destroy D1G-B, and gravity wells try to pull him in.
The game also toys with being a shooter, but only for the purposes of getting the robot through the portal. This isn’t going to be another Call of Duty clone in any way.
Jason Topolski, the co-founder of Steel Wool Studios, says the Pixar animation brainchild was an evolution of another concept.
“Bounce started off as an early experiment to see how far we could push the limits of VR to challenge players. By introducing a narrative element, which is core to our game philosophy, we think we’ve added a cool new dimension to the physics game genre that will keep the players excited about what happens next.”
It won’t be like most puzzle games you’ve played, even in browser-based flash versions. You are in a room and must arrange pieces in it to get the robot where you want him to go. You will need to literally look around, and as the Steel Wool Studios press release suggests, you may have opposition from the two robots introduced in the trailer’s intro.
— VIRTUΛL RESEΛRCH (@vrtwitch) October 20, 2016
The visuals appear to be very basic, which is good since you want to keep the detail as simple as you can. Too much detail can impede your ability to see where things are in each room and overwhelm you in a three-dimensional maze you are tasked with setting up.
What is your first impression of Bounce, from the veterans behind Pixar animation, LucasFilm, and Telltale Games?
[Featured Image by Andrew Jepsen/Steel Wool Studios]