If you somehow woke up in a room that seemed to have no escape, would your fears start to automatically kick in or would you be able to take the time to think about how to escape? Just imagine how it would feel like as your heart pounding, your mind starts to play tricks, and wonder who or what was doing this. But think about it, what would your last thoughts truly be or even your last words if you didn’t know how to escape? Well, you may not have to wonder anymore as Developer Aoga Tech and Publisher Winking Skywalker bring the escape room experience of 18 Floors for the PlayStation VR.
18 Floors is described as “a VR game that will trap players in mystical and terrifying spacial realities”. Some may think of it as a horror “experience”, but it’s not the kind of horror as if you were being locked in a room with a certain amount of time or you will not survive. No, this is more of a being enclosed in narrow places, so if you have claustrophobia, you may want to play in short sittings.
The story of 18 Floors is an interesting one. A 1000 years ago, the Queen of Noah Star, Andrea had her planet destroyed. Since then Andrea has been living amongst us and doing what she can to keep her race from extinction after learning of the genocide for her people, she decides to teach humanity a lesson they will not soon forget by altering history itself. It is going to be up to you to follow her through the time-bending black hole that is known as 18 Floors, discover who she actually is, and reveal the galactic conspiracy.
18 Floors at first have you waking up in this room and there are no instructions on what to do, you will need to figure it out on your own. In some parts of the room you will need to find keys that will play a bigger part later as well as collecting pieces of paper that in itself are pieces to a puzzle. I really like how Aoga Tech used this in numerous ways of hiding a puzzle within a puzzle.
Some of the puzzles will require some thinking, to the point no matter what you have tried that you may still not get it, but look around and the answers may just be looking you straight in the eyes and even then you may still question what to do. What I also enjoy is the atmosphere that 18 Floors presents to you. It’s enough that if I was stuck in this situation, I honestly started to think while I was playing on how I would react. Sure I could scream, but with a phantom presence is that something I would really want to do and plus who may actually hear me?
I do want to say this if you are in a room and for whatever reason need to leave or restart the game for whatever reason, there is no save point of the puzzles you have already completed. You must start the puzzles all over again. This might be fine for some, but when some of the answers to the puzzles are not always the same as you have previously solved, you may become a little frustrated. But don’t let this frustration stop you from a wonderful escape room experience.
Control-wise you will need both Move controllers which work quite well with the teleportation and the click turning. I would love to have had options of movement, but who knows, maybe this can be added later. If not, don’t let this stop you as it does work. I am also going to suggest that you do not play 18 Floors sitting. I tried and there was part of a piece that I needed to solve a puzzle that fell onto the ground and for some reason, I could not reach down to get it as the camera would not track it. So I would have loved the option for collaboration for my height. But I worked with it and played standing and after readjusting the camera some, it worked very well.
Graphically speaking everything is really clear and when you have that along with being immersed the way 18 Floors does, it really adds to the experience. Each room really is its own world and story that it really makes you appreciate the time that was put in for not only the puzzles but the overall design of each floor. Picking up the skull as it hit the lights added this really awesome effect that I may just go back and make it either a gif or a background.
Soundwise you are not going to hear some music blasting as that would take away from the experience, but there is this calming ambiance that just plays so it just gives you enough music in the background while not to distract you from your puzzle-solving skills which I really appreciate. Each turn of a puzzle or just grabbing a tool, for example, has its own independent sound that you would expect it to which keeps everything immersive.
I also want to mention that yes the title is 18 Floors. But the game does only come with the first two worlds titled The Phantom Room and The Sea Express, but more floors will be added at a later date. But if what can be done with those floors with the amount of detail and theming involved, then I am more than excited for what will come our way.
With Virtual Reality, we can be taken to places that even our minds may be tricked, our phobia limits can be tested, and be immersed in ways that we may never get to experience. For one I am glad the thinkers don’t stop thinking, the creators don’t stop creating, the dreamers don’t stop dreaming. It really is amazing what can happen when the thinkers start dreaming and the dreamers start creating.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have to go back in to see where the elevator takes me next.