Back in 1993, there was a game that came out on PC that really caught my eye and it was one of the reasons I had to have a PC. That game was MYST and it is a game that still holds sentimental value to me. Over the years we have seen the game and its sequels go from PC to consoles to handhelds to even mobile devices. I knew from the moment I saw the game and later played that this is a game that would shine in Virtual Reality. So has Developer Cyan bring that joy from the PC and immerse us in its web of puzzles in Virtual Reality. Yes, yes they do. Let’s find out with MYST for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
As I have mentioned, MYST has been seen in different variations from PC to Mobile devices and now in fantastic Virtual Reality. Spawning sequels, RIVEN, MYST III: EXILE, MYST IV: REVELATION, and MYST V: END OF AGES and using a point and click system, for its adventure, it has improved over the years, and now, MYST has been reimagined with new sound interaction and built from the ground up for VR.So before we really get into it all, please keep in mind that there are puzzles here and some that can be frustrating. But do not let that sway your decision in experiencing MYST in VR even if you have played it before. I also am not going to (or at least try not to the best of my abilities) help with any puzzles as that is part of the fun that is MYST. SO with that said, let’s continue.
Before you jump right in, take a look at the options to find out what are the best ones for you. Do you want to teleport, skip any moving elevators, include subtitles, or even help you with clues with important sounds? Cyan really thought of everyone from new to experienced here.
If you are not aware, you play as a person who is not named. Then you come across this book called MYST. And it’s within this book you read about this island, this world called MYST. But it’s not so much as opening the book and reading it, but as you place your hand on the page is when you get teleported to this world. As you first set your eyes on this island, the whole entire game is played in first-person, just like the original, and playing it in Virtual Reality, not only brought back so many memories but added to the experience as I have always hoped it would be presented.
As you enter this island, there are no instructions on what to do or where to go as you must explore it. Coming across things like a boat that is pretty much under the water, a cabin, some markers, a planetarium, a library, and a few other things. I will say this when you first start, you may just want to start to go forward and explore, but turn to your left and enter the doorway as you get to meet Artus who we learn is the father of his two sons, Achenar and Sirrus who we learn are trapped in the red and blue books and their messages are not clear at first as you are trying to find the red and blue pages of these books to help discover what is really going on. And after hearing the message from Artus, you just might finally get that clue or clues of what or where to go next.
But it’s the puzzles that are within MYST that are really clever and again, sometimes cause frustration that regardless of how difficult I may have found a puzzle to me as I remember some of the puzzles from memory from I originally played the game, with this version of MYST, some of the puzzles were reworked some which at one point thinking how dare they and on the other thought, well done Cyan…well done. For example, in the Original MYST in the Stoneship Age, there is a part where you have to pump out water and this is what it looked like…
To the newly updated built from the ground up redesign…
Each part of MYST has a certain amount of puzzles that will lead you to the linking books of MYST called ages. You have the Mechanical Age, Stoneship Age, Channelwood Age, and Selenitic Age. Each age with its own set of puzzles that are very well themed with that particular age. It’s when you find the pages within each of the ages and ultimately the book that can link you back to the library to restore the pages to the red and blue book is when things are not all of what they seem and show how atmospheric and immersive that MYST really is.
Some puzzles will require you going back and forth as you will need to hear the sounds as they might be clues on when you have to move to the next area. For example, at the beginning level, you have to turn up the gas in the furnace in order to rotate the tree, but then lower it, get out of and get to the tree before the door goes too far down and you will have to back and try it again until you get it just right.
I know I talked about how immersive MYST is and it really is, but there are times where you might need to look away from the VR headset to write things down and make notes which can take away from the immersion. Originally, MYST was made for you to have paper so you can write things down and never really thought of being in Virtual Reality. But thanks to the power of the Oculus Quest 2, you could cast your gameplay and then have a friend or loved one play with you as you both can this adventure together as they take the notes. This way, you are still in VR immersion, and your friend or loved one feels included thus making MYST being able to be enjoyed by all.
Let’s talk about sound and graphics. Sound has always been a very strong point of MYST. From certain areas to the puzzles such as playing the notes on the keys in the right order and the sound in this version in Virtual Reality is top-notch. It really helped with the immersion and hearing what needed to happen and making sure to getting or at least trying to get everything just right.
On the graphics, there were a few things. One, the original MYST used FMV (Full-motion video) and replaced it with CG. There was just something special about the original PC MYST and the FMV that I was hoping would be here, especially when you see the options for the puzzles to be randomized or from the original MYST game. I am not saying it’s bad in any way, it’s just that part of me and the memories I had of the game. But the CG works well in VR and everything looked really sharp and clear and the way Cyan built the game from the ground up for VR really shows the beauty that is displayed here all thanks to some care, Virtual Reality, and the Oculus Quest 2.
MYST in VR does not hold our hands and guide us, but gives us the opportunity to be teleported to a place with no reason, but allows us to explore on our own and think while showcasing the beauty of the world. It shows us how light can battle darkness as with good vs evil and shows us that not everything that appears to us and what we are led to believe is the right path to take. Just as in life, sometimes we need to listen to that angel on our shoulders and that voice inside in order to find the correct path that can take us home.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to try and discover the other endings and hope that the other MYST sequels come to Virtual Reality.