What if one day you were living and the next you were in no place like you have ever been before? I know for me, at least, a lot of questions would be coming to thought. Questions like how did this happen, what exactly happened, and why of all things did this happen? All these questions come to mind and I am sure many of you may even have some other questions that you would be asking. But as I try to find the answers and hoping that whoever may answer those questions is not a representation of something truly evil. It’s something that I hope many of us never have to explore any time soon. But does developer Odd Rave Studios and publisher Resolution Games show us what it’s like to explore the Underworld? Let’s find out with Carly and the Reaperman for the Oculus Quest/Quest 2.
I want to say this up front, that for some reason when I was trying to stream the gameplay, the sound would cut out and some of the gameplay did not record. So if there is some gameplay with no sound, that is why. This was in no way the developer’s or publisher’s fault, it was just one of those days where if anything could go wrong it would and it did. So with that, let’s continue
Carly and the Reaperman is a VR co-op experience that balances brains and brawn as together, you will puzzle your way through different platforms of the underworld. Since the keywords here are co-op and together. This means that the game can be played with two players. One will control Carly as she runs, tries to collects all the fireflies, and jumps through the different platform challenges and the other plays as the Reaperman, where you can help Carly by moving objects and help her to explore new places while avoiding dangerous obstacles.
When you first start out with Carly and the Reaperman, there is just something about the opening music that is eerie but with an upbeat tone. But it’s the opening words that kind of set things in perspective with a reminder of the last thing you remember was the loud sound of metal bending and breaking and then in red, all went black. Only then to be woken up to the rhythmic sound of a train. Which is kind of sad when you think about it. But it’s when the train arrives and Carly exits the train, do you get to explore around some and really get used to how you will be moving and jumping while controlling Carly and also using objects such as blocks and other items as the Reaperman to get through the underworld.
As you start to figure out the movements and the controls of both Carly and as the Reaperman, you come across some inhabitants (lost souls per se) who cannot remember who they are and it’s up to you to find their memories to help them remember what happened to them. Again, it’s kind of said when you think about it, but I get it. We are in the Underworld and you are Carly and you do have the Reaperman, so really there is nothing to fear, right?
But what really works well here is just how well the controlling of Carly and also the Reaperman work. Playing as the Reaperman and the way that you can manipulate the area by placing blocks and other objects so that Carly can get to them is pretty cool when looking at it from different angles and only the way it could work is in Virtual Reality. Sometimes, when you move as Carly, you will misjudge a jump or fall off the side which will allow you to appear at the last checkpoint. Plus, it doesn’t hurt you if you die because you are already in the Underworld. So no matter how many times you fall or die, keep trying again until you reach the next point in the level.
As you progress, you will find chests that Carly can open that reveals items that the Reaperman can wear which is pretty fun seeing yourself as the Reaperman where the different items before selecting them. Puzzles within the levels and how to solve them can become more challenging. There will be puzzles with lasers that you have to figure out how to help Carly get through them. Blocks you may place may only appear for a certain amount of time and situations like enemies who are shooting may hit your blocks that you placed perfectly only to have those blocks disappear and you have to go back to where you got them from and try again. I am not bitter, yes this happened to me many many times, but I am not bitter about it. Really it’s fine. Let’s move on.
Looking at the art style, with its dark and colorful that is clear and almost comes alive, with its eerie look with an almost Halloween feeling and rightfully so, being in the Underworld and all. When you first visit the city at the beginning, the neon lights of the signs and even the street lights just gave it this feeling that even though you may be in the place of the non-living, there is still movement and things still carry on in the underworld type of way. The music also just compliments it all and is something that I could listen to just by itself.
There are a few things that I wish would get added. For one, it can be a little challenging to remember which levels you have visited, so I hope that some type of level selector does get added to allow for some assistance with that area as there are some players that want to try and collect all the fireflies that they can. The only other thing I would love to see is just more of the underworld. The art style, music, and the way the game played, just made me want to keep playing. I know there may not be any new levels that can be added, but let’s hope that there is a sequel or even a prequel. Maybe the story of how the Reaperman came to be and what problems he faced on his journey to where he is now. I know that’s asking a lot, but it would be interesting.
Earlier, I talked about those keywords of co-op and together. Yes, Carly and the Reaperman is really meant to be played with a friend. In fact, publisher, Resolution Games has even added a free PC or Mac counterpart that you can download so you can have a friend play, or even if your friend has an Oculus Quest or Quest 2, they can also join in the fun. I at this time tried to get some people to play, but due to different schedules, just couldn’t make it work. But luckily, Carly and the Reaperman can be played in the single-player mode so that you control both Carly and the Reaperman, which I did and it works great.
Carly and the Reaperman brings the platforming fun that can be played either in single player or in co-op to the Oculus Quest/Quest 2. It shows us that sometimes when we try to go at things alone, we may have more challenges than expected then if we go at them together. We at times may not feel that we can ask for that help, but isn’t it nice to know that when it comes down to it, the ones that we really care about and the ones that really care about us, will be there when the time comes to help us in those challenging times?
Carly and the Reaperman is out now for 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 back to the Underworld.