Virtual Reality is an exciting new turn in the games industry but it’s one we all need to get used to.
Since the 70s, we’ve been using pads to dictate the motions and actions of virtual avatars in fantasy worlds. Now? We can become that avatar and turn our heads to see what’s happening at our sides. We can even peer behind us. Making eye-contact with NPCs has become a gameplay mechanic. Scenery has new meaning. We’re immersed in the action in ways we’ve only ever dreamt of. Until now, that is.
The best way to acclimitise to this significant change is by building experiences as opposed to trying to flesch out a tenuous concept for a game. It helps developers understand how the technology works so they can build on it in fulfilling ways. It also helps us understand how to interact with it. And while KISMET includes a mystical mini-game that can be played against the AI at any point, essentially it’s an entry-level interactive experience that gives you the slightest idea of what Playstation VR can accomplish.
My issue is that at £6.99 there are more cost-effective – and engaging – ways of achieving that.
That’s not to say you won’t audibly gasp when you’re suddenly stood out in the desert facing sphinxes playing Ur, or you’re looking up at space and star constellations while having your horoscope read.
In that sense, Psyop have crafted something very unique in that you can log in daily and have a semi-personal experience each time. You select hand-drawn tarot cards from a deck of 22 dependent on your mood and learn what the stars from a real-time solar system are saying about your sign every day.
But after a few attempts KISMET’s limitations start to show. Repetition creeps into the dialogue, choices prove to be more limited than you might expect, and Ur isn’t quite as entertaining as it needs to be to keep you coming back for more.
Ur is made up of two gameboards with a total of twenty squares. It’s the oldest example of a board game in living history and the idea is that you and the fortune teller must take it in turns to move your markers from one side of the board to the other. You roll a die to determine the amount of moves and can even interupt the opposing player by catching up to their marker, sending them back to the start.
Unfortunately you only have the option of playing the AI and the rules make Ur less about skill and much more about chance, which proves frustrating and a tad bit tedious.
Still, KISMET looks and sounds great and is a compelling introduction to VR for family members and friends who aren’t necessarily gamers but are fascinated by the concept. In that regard, this experience could persuade them to get more invested in the idea and maybe even inspire them to explore other experiences. Plus it won’t make you nauseous. That’s always a plus.
It’s just a shame there’s not more to this for the price-tag. It’s a refreshing change of pace from the quirky Lemming spin-off Waddle Home and the football score-a-thon Headmaster, but with those games being around the same price – offering more bang for your buck – that makes KISMET a tough sell.
6 out of 10
(Tested on Playstation VR. Code supplied by publisher)