Stop for a moment and think about your own life. One where you think you have made the best choices up to this point. You may be growing up with the best family or actually have a family all of your own. But have there been times when the one you wanted to be with may not have always been the only option? What about pinpointing that time in your life where you made the decision that you knew had to be right because all the signs were there, but for some reason, you maybe start to think about the other option. Not because you may love or happy with the path you took, but maybe you feel like something is missing. If you had the opportunity to go on a journey to find out the missing piece of your puzzling life, would you take it regardless of what may be lost along the way? It’s a question that many can relate to. So does Developer Monte Perdido Studio show us what it’s like to embark on the journey? Yes, yes they do. Let’s find out more with Vanishing Grace for the Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2.
Vanishing Grace is a narrative puzzle game set in a near-future where a solar storm has changed life on Earth. So before we begin, you want to make sure you have of course your Oculus Touch controllers charged. I will say I do like how before you even get into everything, that you are giving the setting options. Select from if you want subtitles, the type of locomotion, if you want to sit or stand, and the type of rotation you would like. Once you have everything, it’s time to continue on and selecting a save slot. But just the opening area alone with the art style just the way the fire is crackling and the stars are out, I almost wish this was a place I could hang out with friends and tell ghost stories with. It really is quite enjoyable.
So after a quick introduction of seeing Grace as talks to you as you are both children at the time, the time fast forwards to the present time as you play as Joel, Grace’s best friend. It’s not until you receive the talk from Joel’s wife about leaving to go on this mission to find Grace that you start to understand that Joel is trying to make everyone happy, but at the same time, he has known Grace his entire life and will do anything to make sure she alright. It’s just Joe’s wife, Elena is trying to talk Joel out of going and even mentions their unborn child is coming. The thing with the communication is it’s all done with a communication device where you are given choices and based on the choices will determine the reaction and the response of what the other characters give back. So in a way, it’s like real life and how you speak to someone in a certain way may result in a response you may not care for. But Joel assures Elena that he will be back, but he has to do this and she should trust him.
And this is where we start our journey. You start out on the ship that Grace has built and this is where a majority of your time will be spent as there will be puzzles to figure out while on the ship to help progress the story which can be from cassette tapes that Grace has left for Joel or different items that you interact with. In order to power the ship, the battery needs to be charged, so you will need to use the boomerang to collect the energy. Once the battery is full, it’s time to head inside and this is where thing start to get interesting.
As you solve puzzles and the story progresses, so does the ability to actually get off the ship some. When you do have the opportunity to do so, it’s almost like an easier puzzle than what you may find on the actual ship as you will need to try and search for objects to take back to the ship which these newly found objects actually help propel the story further. Along with your journey and trying to find the next puzzle to try and solve or object to interact with, you will also want to pay attention to the ship controls. You are able to interact with the solar panel, the speed, and even the temperature that you will need to help cool down when the time comes. Puzzles can consist of things that are very simple such as trying to find a replacement fuse to at times that I can see might be frustrating for some such as trying to find a spare switch. The ship really only has three indoor sections, the control panel, the main part where you can see how well Grace actually designed the ship, to the living quarter section with a bed, restroom, and shower. So even though it may not be a lot of space, you still have to find the pieces to help solve the puzzle to keep the story going forward.
I will not give away the ending or really any more about the locations, puzzles, or objects you will interact with. That is part of the fun is the discovery. So looking at the graphics, I really like the art style that is used here. Simple, yet effective. When Joel is listening to what Grace is saying and you get to experience what she went through to get to where she is, it really makes you appreciate the hard work that went into everything here. Sound-wise from the crackling of the fire that moves as you move to hear the wind as you are in the fresh air to the wonderful job all the voice actors did with the passion of telling the story, it really all comes together very nicely.
If there is anything I would love to have seen is just more of the story of Joel and Grace as there is so more that could be told. I really hope that there is a sequel or prequal that shows the point of where things got to where they are or maybe from the view of Grace to flip things around.
Sometimes we may feel that we have the perfect life with the people that we know are the ones we were meant to be with. Sometimes we look back at those times and may wonder if the choices we made were the right ones. And sometimes the choices we make leave a part of us behind without realizing how it will affect us in the the future. But regardless of the choices we make, the best thing we can all do is make the best of the journey that we are on until we get to the destination that life has in store for us.
Vanishing Grace is out now on the Oculus Quest/Quest 2 on the Oculus Store. A review code was provided.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to go back in and just enjoy that fire under the stars.