When you finally get to escape from your daily routine and get to go on vacation, what are some of the things that are on your list to do? It could be checking out the local businesses, relaxing, or maybe even sightseeing. For me, it’s always been sightseeing and taking pictures of anything and everything as you never know what random object you may have taken with a click of a button while going from place to place as it’s always fun to look back at the memories. But if you could go to a place that was not ordinary, what kind of pictures would you think you would take? What or who would appear in those pictures? It’s always fun to see something unique in a photo when you think about it. So does developer, Dogu, show us what it’s like to enter different worlds to explore? Let’s find out with Isle of Pan for PCVR.
Isle of Pan is a game where you get to photograph strange creatures and open portals to surreal realms that recreates the joy of instant photography as you explore a mysterious Nordic island in an open-world photography adventure. So before you go exploring on your own, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, take your time and explore as you never know what may appear. Second, read everything that you come across as it will help with your adventure. Third, make sure those controllers are charged and not about to run out as you don’t want to miss that special photographic opportunity that may only be taken at a certain time of day. And finally, have fun, you deserve it. With that said…let’s continue…
When starting the game, you will notice different signs along the path. This serves as your tutorial from movement, to taking pictures, to even your book. Either before getting in the tutorial or before starting the game, mess with the settings. Do you want a smooth rotation, which thumb do you want to use to turn the pages in your book, to even adjusting your arm swing to the height adjustment. It’s all here and it’s better to get that adjusted now as once you are in the game, there are things that just have to be seen.
When you get to the Isle of Pan, you don’t really have a grasp of how big the island is. Yes, you can walk all over as well as run if you would like, but you might just miss something that you should be taking a picture of. You can take a picture of anything you want, but there are certain subjects you need to take a picture of which may be up close or from a distance. Luckily, your camera has a pretty good zoom function. One of the first places you will come across on the island is a small house that will display the pictures on your current film roll, frames to place your favorite photos, the map of the island, a shelf that will hold different cameras you can unlock, and even frames that have question marks that we will talk about later.
As you explore you will come up with different symbols, which when you approach closer, will give you more pages in your book that you are trying to take pictures of the different subjects of that section of the island. This is where you will need to read what’s on the pages as it just might give you a clue as to where the different subjects might be located such as the Unicorn that can be found in the morning hours.
Lucky for you, you have the ability to change the time of day with your wrist dial. After I received the dial, I decided just to wander off and change it to nighttime only to be visited by aliens and then the Men in Black. I was too quick to take a picture before they tried to erase my memory. That will teach them. As you start taking the photos of the objects in the book and as you keep exploring, you will come across portals that will allow you to enter some strange areas, and when I say some strange areas, I was never expecting to take a picture of evil.
As you go through and explore different areas, you will collect different tokens. Those artifacts will show up in that house and appear in the frame with the question marks that you can then grab and fast-travel back to that area in case you would like to visit again in case you might have missed something or try and get some awesome pics
Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. From seeing clowns at a circus to aliens, the dream state-like artistry is beautiful. Being able to capture pictures of things that you would not normally see and being able to change the time of day to get achieve different results really adds to it all. From the colors that are used to the lighting that highlights those colors to even shooting off the colorful fireworks really benefits from Virtual Reality. The music that switches as you get to different areas such as taking a walk near a pathway only to start hearing Circus music, heightens the experience and curiosity of it all.
There are a few things that I would love to see. For one, more creatures. yes, there are over 100+ creatures, but as much as every creature was fun to look at and try to take a picture of, I just wanted more. Second, more portals. You can never have enough portals. Third, more platforms for everyone to experience the Isle of Pan on. And finally, user-created creatures and portals. Imagine if we could players could create their own creatures and portals where other players could visit and add to their book would really add to the replayability experience.
Isle of Pan allows us to escape and explore at any time of day or night. It introduces us to creatures and places where the imagination can just run free without a care in the world. It doesn’t try to rush, but instead enjoy the beauty that is right in front of us where with a click of a button, memories are made. Life goes by way too quickly to not enjoy the smaller and more important things of life. If we don’t take time now to enjoy it, we may only have a picture left to remind us of the time we wish we could get back.
Isle of Pan is out now on Steam VR. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Dogu, please visit the site, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, and subscribe to the YouTube channel.
Also, check out the Isle of Pan interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more pictures to take.