Arca’s Path VR Hands-on Preview – Meditative Marble Madness
VR games and technology have come a long way over the past few years, so it’s no surprise that many developers have dedicated teams for VR projects, or full on development studios solely dedicated to virtual projects. Dream Reality Interactive is one of these fully dedicated VR/AR studios, and they had a playable demo of their Arca’s Path VR title at this year’s E3, so I strapped a PSVR headset on to experience it. After concluding my demo all I could think about is that it plays like Marble Madness, but thanks to the visuals and sound design, it feels more like a meditative experience than a pure ball-rolling, physics-based platformer.
In Arca’s Path VR the world is one big junk yard, think Wall-E for reference. Among the refuse are junkers, and you come across a little girl that finds a mask that transports her to a new world when she wears it. This world is the one you play in when you strap the PSVR onto your noggin, and it’s a very serene and peaceful world at that. The visual design is very pleasing to the eye, so it provides a soothing feel as you soak it in. The music on the other hand almost puts you into a trance, which really helps you to settle into the experience and become one with the virtual world. Platformers usually get me pretty worked up due to the precise movements they typically require, but while playing Arca’s Path VR I felt ver zen-like thanks to how the visuals and score naturally relax you as you slip away from reality and into the virtual world Dream Reality Interactive built.
Arca’s Path meditative experience is only heightened by its unique control scheme. Most VR games require you to use a controller, a wand, or a replica gun like the Aim VR for PSVR, which sometimes don’t always get tracked perfectly for precise inputs. In a platformer this can be troublesome because your inputs need to be spot on, but Arca’s Path VR skirts this issue by removing any sort of handheld device. Rather you control the movement of the orb you control with just your head. It actually works perfectly because you are just navigating a ball through a labyrinth, so using head tilts works quite well to get the job done. You have a guiding arrow to use to set the ball’s path, so you’re not just tilting your head blindly in a virtual space and trying to figure out where the ball will roll. The mechanic works very well, and just adds to the overall meditative experience.
If you’re looking for a more relaxing VR experience that doesn’t require the use of your hands, and features a mesmerizing world and score, then Arca’s Path VR is a title to follow. Hell, if you loved Marble Madness, but wanted to try it out in a more zen-like setting you should check this VR title out. It should release this year for the PlayStation VR, Oculus Rift, Oculus Go, Steam VR, Samsung Gear VR, so stay tuned for more details.
“Making you a better geek, one post at a time!”