First person puzzles games are the perfect fit on the Oculus Rift.
They enable the player to take their time and explore their surroundings, which is exactly what we enjoy doing in virtual reality. Waking the Glares is one such game, and it’s currently available to back on Kickstarter. With a free demo to check out, we booted it up to see what the game is all about.
After loading up the game players find themselves in the body of a man called Dawnfall. He has no memory of why he awoke on a patch of grass in a suburban environment, but thankfully he has a compass to hand that leads him from clue to clue. This compass is actually a rather clever tool, because as the player approaches a clue it begins to spin in the players hand; and the close the clue, the faster is spins. Additionally, if you’re using an Xbox controller then it vibrates in relation to the spinning of the compass, which means you don’t actually have to look at your virtual hand to know how close a clue is. The spinning compass turns out to be an important tool, because clues are often hidden in long grass or atop walls, making them hard to find.
As the clues are pieced together the game transports the player to different locations to re-awaken Dawnfall’s memory. These are cleverly and seamlessly integrated into the game (for example one scene in Paris ends with the player climbing through a drainpipe to find themselves back in the suburban neighbourhood). The change in scenery makes the demo feel varied and interesting, and it makes exploration and clue gathering a fun process. We happily played through the entirety of the demo in one sitting, and would repeat the process again.
Graphically Waking The Glares is an attractive game. It’s powered by the Unreal Engine, and features real-time lighting effects and trees and foliage that sways realistically in the wind. However, technically there are a few issues on the Oculus Rift, but perhaps that’s to be expected with an alpha demo from a game still deep in development. The game renders the same image for each eye, so there’s no stereoscopic rendering at the time of writing, it needs a hefty PC to run at a smooth frame rate, and cut scenes take control of the camera with a startling, dizzying effect. We struggled to hit 75 FPS on a Core i7 Geforce GTX 970-powered PC.
With 13 days to go before the game’s Kickstarter campaign ends, the game has only raised a small amount of its total goal, so the team desperately need the backing of as many gamers as possible. As with all Kickstarter campaigns there are multiple pledge awards, with a pledge of only €10 getting you a full digital copy of the game, and the maximum pledge of €5,000 or more getting you early access to the game, your face on an in-game character, a personalised poster, soundtrack art book, t-shirt, postcard and special thanks in the game.