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.
When the HTC Vive first landed, then similarly with the PSVR and the release of the Touch controllers for the Oculus Rift, the team at Owlchemy Labs brought a great introductory VR experience in Job Simulator. Well now its 2060 and it’s time for you to simulate a vacation with a cast of robots. The question is… does going on vacation with these robots beat working for them?
As with Job Simulator the game does offer a basic story, for the gameplay to be based around. To put it in short, after being a human thats been in the Job Simulator, it’s now time to join some robots (as they have replaced all humans) on vacation – which of course is by another simulation. Welcome to the Vacation Simulator.
With this story in mind, the game now introduces the gameplay, which is a group of mini-games. You are introduced to the game and how it works through Vacation Bot and Efficiency Bot, that is there just to measure how well the simulator works. These will show you the three vacation worlds you can visit, these are Vacation Beach, Vacation Forest and Vacation Mountain. All of the worlds are accessible from the beginning – although the explanation of memories made me think they were locked until I had enough memories to unlock them.
I’m sure your asking ‘what are these memories, you speak of?’. If you were; these are rewards for the mini-games in each location – which will unlock areas in these locations to expand that area a little. These memories are given to you by the number of bots placed in each location for completing their tasks.
There is a number of activities in each area, but, this where the game falls down a little. This is due to a number of the tasks being either repeated or have similarities per location. For example, you will be collecting bugs in each area, and each one has the same mechanic of locating them and approaching them slowly. Then you will get a task to build sandcastles on the beach and ice sculptures in the snowy mountains. Both of these will have you following plans given to you – with the only difference being you will build the sandcastles with blocks and chisel away the blocks for the ice sculptures.
This could make people get a bit bored of a rinse and repeat tasks in each area. Although outside of the repeated ones, the other tasks are well designed for that area. Be it working out on the beach, fishing in the forest or throwing snowballs in the mountains. Giving you some break from the repeated tasks.
Then as aforementioned you will get extra areas to unlock with the memories you have collected. With my favourite one being the underwater level on Vacation Beach. Each of these areas again have robots in them giving you more mini-game tasks to carry out.
When it comes to the presentation, you are getting exactly what you got with Job Simulator. Visually you are placed into very bright colourful cartoon worlds. That where simple graphically it works with what the game is doing, and kept inline with the original – which for this game was going to be important. Even taking this into account it is still an immersive experience.
The audio and humour was a great point of Job Simulator, so it was important the solid voice work and humour carried over into your vacation… and I am glad to say it has. Each area will then receive some backing music and sounds to match the environment thrown in, again making sure you feel immersed in the location you choose to take your vacation on.
However, again I find one little issue within the presentation. There seems a lack of polish in the game, where Job Simulator felt well polished at it’s point of release; since then games have moved forward. It just gives you feeling that there is more polished games out there, that have been release before Vacation Simulator,
We all know that locomotion is a big talking point with VR users, some prefer free locomotion, some prefer teleport and some it just doesn’t matter. Well Vacation Simulator uses teleport movement to set points in each location – with them all the linking to one of the mini-games. Although I am an advocate of free locomotion, with what the titles does I can’t see the need for this and the teleport system works.
In order to play the game you are going to using the touch controllers, with the triggers being used to grab the objects, looking and pointing at areas will activate the teleport point and then you use X to teleport there and the final touch which I really liked being the need to wave at the robots will start their task. This brings in a little extra bit of interaction with the robots and means as you teleport near robots it doesn’t automatically start them off. With how the control system works it means the game can be played seated or standing – with neither holding any sort of advantage.
The games length really is going to depend on a number of things, with the main ones being… the players past involvement in VR and the age of the person. For VR veterans they are going to pick this up easily and with the amount of memories to unlock the areas not being too difficult to get, it could be over quickly. The only way the veterans will get a good bit out of the game is if they are a completionist and want all the memories. But, then if you are new to VR, like Job Simulator this is going to be a great introduction to VR, and you will spend a good but of time in the game learning what VR is capable of. Then if you have kids they will likely spend a lot of time in the vacation areas and it could possibly be their go to VR game.
- Colourful worlds
- Great humour
- Fantastic to introduce VR to newcomers
- Well designed mini-games
- Some repeated mini-games
- Lacking that modern polish
- Nothing new for VR veterans
Vacation Simulator is a game that I would recommend to people, as it brings with it everything people loved from Job Simulator, plus well designed mini-games and vacation areas. However, these similarities makes it feel like another game that will be enjoyed more by those who are new to VR or a younger audience. With it costing £22.99 (GBP) the VR veterans will likely want to wait until it goes into a sale before picking it up. This is purely own to the time they are likely to spend in the game – unless you have kids or want to introduce friends to VR. Which is a shame because the game is solid, but it’s not going to be anything the veterans haven’t seen already.
Also available on HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality
PlayStation VR version coming at a later date
Developer: Owlchemy Labs
Buy Vacation Simulator on the Oculus Store