It’ll blow neither your mind nor the bank but Floor Plan is a charming VR game that once again hints towards a great future for the platform.
Floor Plan is a simple game but that’s in no way a criticism. Simplicity is key to Floor Plan’s success and titles like this – as long as they’re priced accordingly – can be great fun.
The game is essentially a point-and-click, puzzle adventurer which sees you riding an elevator to various levels using items to unlock numerous extra levels and more items, as you discard the old ones. The game relies heavily on the traditional point-and-click trope of trial-and-error and throwing items together hoping they’ll do something.
Each floor has a different theme and some sport a wacky character as an accompaniment. The cast is small and comprised of clichés with the odd twists here and there: a snowman who’s shivering from the cold; a robotic sheriff and a ‘piggy bank’ pig to name a few. Regardless of their originality, they ooze charm and at the very least make for good target practice. (I’m talking mugs, coins and magnets here, not AK47’s.)
There are a few head-scratchers but most of the puzzles are straightforward. There was one moment of real confusion a fair way into my playthrough where I found myself with no items and no clue. If this were a normal point-and-click I’d have given up – they’re not really my thing, as much as I’d like them to be – but it’s not so easy to rage-quit in VR. I persevered and still couldn’t figure it out. Luckily for me, there’s an inbuilt ‘tip system’. Pressing the ‘help’ button in the lift – as you would in real life if you were stuck – contacts a sarcastic operator who hesitantly comes to your aid with a cryptic, but often epiphany-inducing tip. This feature alone means that even the worst point-and-quick adventurer can make it through in no time at all.
The graphics are colourful and all of the assorted floors have a unique look and feel. As basic as they are they work and suit the style of the game. The sound FX and music are similarly basic but they’re as complex as they need to be – and the thud the mug makes when thrown into the pig’s head is truly satisfying.
The motion controls are top-notch. There isn’t a whole lot to control: you push elevator buttons and pick up, drop and throw various items. It doesn’t seem like much but the game doesn’t require any more and the controls are implemented well. The tracking was spot on when I played – even the throwing of items, which is often tricky for developers to pull off. In fact, the throwing is one of the games best features. Throwing a bowling ball at a sentient pot-plant is amusing. The DS4 controls work just as well. They’re less immersive but do make for a more chilled experience.
The game is short and you’ll have little reason to play through a second time – other than a trophy for completing the game in under ten minutes. A first play-through could take anywhere from half an hour to an hour, possibly a little longer. As the credits roll you’ll receive a ‘Performance Review’ which will inform you how many times you threw items at the Gumball Machine’s head – amongst other must-have, need-to-know information. It’s a neat little extra to an all-around pleasant experience.
In the years to come simple games like this may well fall by the wayside. As developers learn what works and what doesn’t, and as consumers adjust and learn themselves, the games and experiences will become more complex. Many people already crave more complex experiences and in time they’ll arrive in droves. But hopefully, bite-size, budget experiences like this will continue to thrive. It’s also very easy to see a game like this being one part of a much bigger experience.
VERDICT 8/10* – SHORT, SWEET AND FULL OF CHARM.
*This score is based on how much fun I had with the game and how much it cost. I’m not in anyway suggesting it’s as good as titles such as Resident Evil 7 VR, but all things considered (fun factor, price, length, controls and immersion), it’s a great title worthy of a good score.