As video games have taught us since the days of Mario, the best solution to any problem is bouncing. Steel Wool Studios is kicking that concept up a notch.
The indie dev — featuring creative vets from Telltale, Pixar, and Lucasfilm — is releasing a VR title for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift called Bounce, in which players sort of Rube Goldberg their way to victory. It’s a puzzle game, with a ball. Get the ball from point A to point B — but, you know, do it using trampolines and pipes and conveyor belts and stuff.
The game’s Pixar roots are apparent. Those adorable robots would very much be at home in Wall-E. Steel Wool says Bounce “combines the powerful narrative elements of feature animation films with the intricate gameplay mechanics of VR.” The objective is to help D1G-B, your playful robot companion, navigate through an increasingly complex labyrinth of rooms on a galactic spaceship. You and D1G-B’ve got an array of gadgets at your disposal, like tractor beams and accelerators. There are 50 rooms to get through, and as the game progresses players are faced with more and more obstacles, like moving blockers, laser gates, and gravity wells.
Puzzle games are one of many types of games that don’t really need to be in VR (does anything exclusively work in VR? A question I asked here [SHAMELESS PLUG]), but they can certainly be enhanced by it. The idea of actually being in a maze as opposed to just playing one is pretty cool. Bounce isn’t exactly a maze, but imagine being put inside Portal — actually being Chell — that’s kind of what’s going on here. Except instead of GlaDOS, you’re under the watchful eye of two cheek-pinchingly cute robots, H8-bit and 2bit.
Speaking of Portal, in addition to wonderful level design, much of what made it so memorable was its story; it drew you in. Personally, I think that’s something that will be essential to the success of VR games. What good is being put in a world if I don’t feel a connection? Bounce‘s creators understand this, with Steel Wool co-founder Jason Topolski saying the narrative element is core to their game philosophy.
No exact release date has been given, but Steel Wool says it’s coming soon. You can keep an eye on the company on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. You can also follow this Reddit thread on Bounce, in which Steel Wool Studios gives a bit more information. The dev studio says in the comments the game will be $24.99 (presumably US), with a discount offered at launch. It also says there will be a demo to try.
Mark McAvoy is a contributor for AYBOnline. His opinions are fleeting. And his own.