Fujii Review (Valve Index)

For the purposes of transparency, this review was created using a code provided by the company or their respective PR company. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of the game.

Fujii was another game we first got introduced to as part of Upload’s #E3VR event. Where we knew little about the game, the art style really had me interested. I love it when a studio takes an artistic approach to their game, and portrays a message. So, did Fujii tick all these boxes for me?

Where the game doesn’t really come with a story per say, it will take you on a magical journey. This journey is very much a relaxing one, which will see you restoring the balance to nature. Well, this is the feeling I got from what you are doing throughout the game, but there’s no narrative explaining this.

When it comes to the gameplay, the team at Funktronic Labs have kept with the relaxing and some what meditative feeling, by making it about exploring and interacting with the plant and wild life placed around the 3 biomes you visit.

In each of the biomes you will find yourself interacting through touch or watering the plant life. What you will need to look out for is the glowing plants, as this gives you the indication you can interact with them. So you will be either touching them with your characters jelly like hands or watering them. In order to water them you will find a near by water ball, and connect your arms to the ball and fill them with water. You can then water them by firing this collected water out of your fingers.

Doing this will either send light particles to an object you then interactive with to bring life to more of the biome, giving you more to explore or a glowing orb. You will also find some simple puzzles in the ilk of the ‘Simon Says Memory Game’ I have fond memories of as a child. If you are not familiar with this, you have two plants that will show you a pattern you need follow on the plants in front of you, this again will reward you. You will get either another glowing orb or a seed for one of the plants in that biome.

I’m sure you’re asking what are the glowing orbs and seeds used for? The glowing orbs are the games currency that will let you unlock doors within the biomes, or to buy more plant pots or seeds for your home.

Your home world falls in the middle of the three biomes, and is an area where you get to become a gardener, and bring it to life. This is done by planting the seeds you collect or buy and making the world you own. In this area like the biomes you will need to water and interact with the plants to make them grow. This is very much a playground area.

They took the correct approach when it comes to finding the glowing orbs, by making them really easy to collect and find. If they went out their way to make them limited and hard to find it really would have taken away from the experience Fujii is offering.

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As aforementioned it was the games artistic style that made me gravitate towards the title, and this really didn’t let me down when in the world. The colours in this world really pop inside of your headset, and it’s easy to become relaxed and immersed in the beautiful design of the game. The colourful and simplistic style of the design really suited everything the game is doing, and really allows you to enter the meditative state of mind.

Then add to the this the audio design, which takes a very relaxing and serene approach. This makes you even more immersed in the game, and makes your stroll around the world even more relaxing. From the noises of the world, the relaxing background music, and the more prominent musical notes from your interaction with the plants and from the animals singing – it’s hard not to fall in love with the audio. However, our favourite part of the audio design was when travelling between the biomes your little gnome plays music, and by placing your hands outside of the boat it will create music with your hands.

The game is made to be played Standing, we attempted to play seated from launching the game and you feel small and low in the world with some interactions hard to reach. So, you will need to be aware that if you are unable to stand, this might not be the game for you. For the movement they have gone with teleportation, and for what the game is doing this works great and doesn’t take anything away from your experience. Although free-locomotion would have its place, so the option to use this would have been a plus.

When it comes to the Valve Index the team have implemented full support from interaction to visual for the Index Controllers. This means the grab and release interaction will just be done using a natural grab action, and you can move each finger separately on your hand. The analogues are used to teleport shown by an icon on the floor, your trigger will fire the water from your fingers and the buttons will open your inventory to store your orbs and seeds. A simple control system, that helps keeping that chilled feeling.

The three biomes took me around an hour to go though them all, but they are always available to revisit to get more orbs to bring your home world to life. With the relaxed feeling the game gives you, this is where you are going to get the replay value from; if you need to chill and wind down, you can always find more orbs and work on designing your home. If, that sounds like something that you would do, there is many reasons to jump back into the world of Fujii.

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Pros
  • Beautiful world and audio design
  • Relaxing and meditative experience
  • Fantastic interaction elements

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Cons
  • Lack of free-locomotion option
  • No option to play seated, when it would have worked

Conclusion

Fujii is one of the most relaxing and meditative experiences I have had in VR. The beautiful visual and audio designs keeps you in the chilled state of mind, and makes this for people of any age. It does have some downfalls, all in the choices of how you play, rather than elements of the game. But, if you want a beautifully designed and relaxing game, Fujii would be a solid option.

Also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift/Quest,
Developers: Funktronic Labs (join their discord)
Buy Fujii on Steam / Oculus Rift / Oculus Quest

Reviewed using: Intel Core i7-7700 3.6GHz, 16GB DDR4, NVIDIA GeForce 1080Ti 11GB

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