Viveport Review: Alcatraz: VR Escape Room
Origins VR expertly weaves story into this puzzle-driven escape the room experience.
By Joshua Hawkins, Greenlit Content
Most 'escape room' games drop you into a room and then leave you to solve the puzzles and escape. Origins VR’s attempt at bringing their escape room to life is different, and instead weaves an intriguing story of mystery into the entire escapade, creating a unique experience that feels good and is easy to dive into.
Like most escape room games, puzzles are made up of different clues that you will need to find around the room. This means that you’ll need to look inside of closets, vases, and even drawers to find the clues that you need. The puzzles in Alcatraz: VR Escape Room aren’t the toughest that you’ll come across, but they also aren’t the worst in the world either. They offer a nice enough challenge without being too difficult, which means you never feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall, even if you happen to hit your head on the wall while trying to pick up something from the corner of the room.
Moving around the room is two-fold. You can teleport, or you can walk around in your play space. Walking around is nice, but there are so many nooks and crannies to explore that you’ll eventually need the teleport function. That’s not a bad thing, as teleportation is one of the most reliable forms of locomotion in virtual reality, so it fits well in this game and makes moving around the tighter places much easier.
What sets Alcatraz: VR Escape Room apart, though, is the story. Instead of dropping you into the world, players wake up unaware of where they are, or who they are. From here, you must solve puzzles to figure out your identity and why you’re trapped in this room. I wish the game had been longer, but clocking in at just under an hour, it was more than enough time to really experience the breadth that the app has to offer.
My biggest complaint with Alcatraz: VR Escape Room, and really any VR escape room is the way that items in the games feel. They never feel real, which leads to issues with presence that leaves the entire experience feeling more like a traditional game with motion controls than a full-fledged VR experience. That isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but it does mean that you won’t get the same feeling as you would with games that offer a better sense of presence.
At the end of it all, Alcatraz: VR Escape Room is a solid escape room experience, but it leaves something to be desired. The sense of presence isn’t that great, but if you’re looking to try out a good escape room, then this is a good place to start - just don’t expect to be blown away. Still, it’s worth checking out for puzzle-lovers, especially if you’re looking to get an intriguing story alongside your puzzles.