Imagine the world we live in with its beauty, life, and surprises both big and small. The world we call home has a lot going for it. But think about how habits can change the look and feel of the environment around us. Would you do anything to protect it or would you let it change for the worse until it was too late? Most of us would try to do our part, but some would not even think about what we do and how it can have such an impact on our home. It’s interesting to see how something as simple as change can have a ripple effect. But does developer ROTU Entertainment show us an adventure to help protect a home from disaster? Let’s find out with EOLIA for the Quest 2.
EOLIA is a VR fantasy-adventure follow-up in the award-winning Rhythm of the Universe series where you must travel through extreme weather and drought plague deserts peppered with the ruins of a lost civilization on a brink of an environmental collapse. So before you set out on the adventure there are a few things that you should know. First, find your favorite seat as you want to be as comfortable as possible. Second, turn on hand-tracking (more on this in a moment). Third, I am not going to spoil anything for anyone. And finally, just have some fun. With all that said…let’s continue…
If you are not familiar with the Rhythm of the Universe, the first adventure was called IONIA where you play Allergo as you are helping your sister, Allegra on a quest to save the Harpa. EOLIA, is the second part of a seven-part series of the same universe where you play the explorer named Conga Dholak where your mission is to protect your once-thriving planet from an ecological disaster.
When you first start EOLIA, there is something very familiar that starts with the music. The Rhythm of the Universe incorporates music in the puzzles along with helping set the tone of the adventure and the music that starts, just carries on with the tradition that ROTU Entertainment has set within its world. Before you even start the game, you are at the menu where I would suggest adjusting the turning and comfort for your own experience. But before I even clicked on New Game, the immersion of the world with the campsite and hearing the fire going that when combined with the music just made me in the set of mind that had this peaceful and relaxed feeling, which I have to say is a nice touch.
As the narrator speaks about what previously has happened, you get into the tutorial of having to move, turn, and how you will be interacting with things. Honestly, just take a moment to look around as you are moving, and seeing the stars at night looks really good in VR. As you move through the tutorial, you are introduced to how you will be interacting with some of the puzzles, which when the sounds of instruments and a song are combined, really bring the harmony together.
It’s when you get into the game is where you will have to start to get used to a couple of things. Yes, there will be climbing where you have to use your hands to climb and move around, but you also have an inventory system where you have to move your hands as if you were opening a book. You can do this with two different options. The first is with the Touch controllers and the second is with your own hands. Yes, EOLIA uses hand-tracking to control everything in the game. Your left hand will control the movement and the best way to describe this is pinching your thumb and finger together as if holding a joystick and the same with your right to help with turning. It does take a little getting used to.
In your inventory, you do have a notebook that has a variety of uses from seeing the different quests to even the different notes you can play with your flute. When talking with locals, you do have options to select from to engage in the conversations and I would suggest selecting as many choices as you can because you never know when a valuable piece of information is being said or instructions are needed as part of your quests. But if you are wondering if you will be having to walk all the time, the answer is no as you do get to ride and control your Lhargo transportation, and which when you get to make one go fast as you try to outrun tornados, it really gives that rush.
As you move throughout and embark on more parts that you can gain access to, you are on the lookout for joint objects where you can activate the energy grid that you need so you can have enough energy to power the Memori Modus location in the Kudum Tower. These pieces can be anywhere from behind objects to sitting on top of items. There will also be sheets of music for the flute you find where you can teleport to the different areas you have already been to. You will also find journals that play and hear the narration that I kept trying to find throughout my adventure.
Puzzles can range from trying to find the right combination where you have to match the tones as you pick the strings to move your hands to adjust the height of certain pieces for the right combination to even playing an organ in order to move on. I will say that on a few of the puzzles, I did get stuck with no sense of direction at times of what to do other than trial and error which I can see becoming frustrating to some. But there is something about incorporating music into the puzzles that made me want to keep trying to find the solution.
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. EOLIA is a Quest 2 only game. This is not to say it’s a bad-looking game, because it’s not. But if you have played Rhythm of the Universe IOLIA on PCVR, you got a very beautiful game. EOLIA is beautiful in its own right on the Quest 2. Sure, there may be times when things may look flat due to the bigger areas that make up the game, but there are more times than not when being inside a cave for example, and just having the light shine just right that I stopped just to look around. So would EOLIA have a more visual impression if it was on PCVR, yes, but again, if you do not try to rush it, you just might enjoy it. With sound, music is a big part of EOLIA and you can hear that from the start of the game to the puzzles and all the way through to the end. It really was a joy to be audibly immersed in this experience.
There are some things that I hope to see get updated. For one, the controls. Yes, this is a hand-tracking experience if you want to play that way. But I found it to be a hit or a miss at times. I was playing in a well-lit room, but sometimes when I would go to move with the hand-tracking it worked very well, and then other times it was almost like it was battling with itself. This is not to say that this was not a fun experience to try, but it is one that will take some getting used to. So I hope there is a patch that can help the hand-tracking even more because the potential here is a very good one. Second, the puzzles. I really did enjoy how the music was incorporated into the puzzles, but there were times as I mentioned when I didn’t know what to do next. So hopefully in the next installment, this becomes more of a focus point. Third, glitches. I did come across very few situations where things were glitching up and I had to exit to the main menu and start again. I am sure this can be corrected with a patch and will be happy to test the areas again. And finally, I do think that EOLIA should not be limited to just the Quest 2. Like with IOLIA and playing that on PCVR, EOLIA would really shine on PCVR or even PlayStation VR2 when it releases.
EOLIA extends the world we were introduced to and a well-deserved message about the environment. It adds to the taste of the experience of what Virtual Reality can offer while not losing its core heart and that says a lot. Sometimes we keep wanting more and more with each installment of our adventure through life, but sometimes it’s the smaller things over the bigger things that can make us appreciate that next installment even more.
EOLIA is out now for the 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 make sure I didn’t miss any collectibles.