Even though some gamers might classify it as more of a simple tech demo than an actual game, Time Machine VR is surprisingly fun and by far the smoothest VR experience to date.
A lot of virtual reality games try to lock the frames per second as high as possible to give users as immersive an experience as possible. This is where the discomfort or even nausea comes from. Your mind thinks it’s moving but your body isn’t so there’s a massive disconnect and you start to exhibit those symptoms. Case in point: my time with another PAX Prime VR game, P.O.L.L.E.N. To counter that, Minority Media Inc. studied locomotion and its effect on the mind and body. After testing about 1000 gamers who played their game, they found that less than 0.5% felt discomfort. What helps Time Machine VR in this regard is the slightly lower framerates as well as taking place mostly underwater, which slows your movement speed.
The main plot of the game right now is that a plague is ravaging humanity, and going back to the Jurassic Era is the only way to figure out a cure. Right now that’s as detailed as it gets since the game currently only has two levels and is only in Early Access on Steam. You can try out the free demo and if you finish it, you’ll be granted a few hours of free play time to explore; or you could purchase the game and be granted a few extra levels and creatures.
As you set off with your A.I. companion, Rob, you are slowly taught the mechanics of the game and the controls. The game needs a bit of work in teaching you the controls since you only get brief verbal instruction before the game leaves you to your own devices. This wouldn’t be an issue if you didn’t have to often use your different scan modes, trackers, or time stopping ability in conjunction or one after another.
Playing the game, once you master the different abilities, is a breeze, and is mostly just about exploration rather than any sort of conflict or tension. Yes, you’re approaching giant prehistoric whales and crocodiles but during the extended session I had with the game, the only sort of tension came from the pod you’re in beeping whenever there was a predator behind you and they were easily avoided. Nevertheless, you will find yourself jumping out of your seat as a pliosaurus (read: scary dino croc) comes charging at your face.
Now as entertaining as Time Machine VR has the potential of being, right now it is only two levels. That plus the fact that it’s only compatible with an Oculus DK2 headset, will make it a tough sell to the average gamer. Working in Minority Media‘s favor is how invested they are in listening to feedback from their gaming audience. Impressively, the Canadian developers are willing to build and expand the game, for the most part as requested by its players; every four weeks, the game is slated to receive a major update with new levels, animals, and more.
Time Machine VR is an enjoyable experience and with the developer’s actively adding to the game based on fan requests, it can only get better. Gamers can go pilot their own time-travelling submersible pod now by downloading the game from Steam.