Think about the Earth and as many resources it provides for everyday life. The water, the plant life, and even the animals all provide resources. But imagine if all of it was gone and the mission was to fund a new source, but in doing so, things turn out worse than possibly thought. Would you be able to handle the outcome no matter who may become a victim in its wake? So does Developer ELIOT show what’s it’s like to have our back against the wall in the face of zombies? Let’s find out with Pancake House for PCVR on the Oculus Rift S.
In Pancake House, the Earth has been depleted of its resources and there are plans and projects to try to find a new energy source. But one project failed which results in the spreading of unknown infections as the world around you is becoming more chaotic. But two individuals, Jim and John begin their journey to find a clue. Now that we have the premise of what is going on, let’s continue.
When I first started Pancake House, seeing Jim and John in between the action, had some very sharp and very detailed looking. This is what I was hoping that this amount of detail was in the game going forward. I also wish there was movement between the dialog that would show some emotion of what a conversation would actually be like. But instead, it’s all subtitled, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but I would just love some of that interaction between the two characters.
I will say that I know on the PlayStation VR version, there is the option to use the Aim controller which would be awesome if there was something like that for PCVR (yes, I know something can be 3D printed), but the Aim controller does feel pretty awesome with the right experience. Also, the PlayStation VR has click turning only which can be annoying to some. On the PCVR side of things, I am happy to say that the turning is smooth and works amazingly well.
Pancake House is first and foremost a wave shooter with assault and defense modes. In the defense modes, you will have a variety of zombies coming at you from different angles while you try to defend the spot without them breaking through and basically becoming their next meal. Assault mode is where you try to get to the different wave points in hopes that you can clear the level and keep fighting for another day. Most places will have you either in a sewer, street, or some narrow type path. Going down the streets, you may have zombies come from either side and even after killing them, you cannot go down those paths. You must stay on the same path regardless of the illusion that there must be other alternative ways to get to the same point.
But beyond the assault and defense modes is a story of trying to find out what has happened and why. It’s these parts of the game that sets up the next objective. And it’s here that you might not want just rush and try to get to the action, but understand what is being said. Sure, sometimes the words may be a little off from what is being said and as I mentioned, I would have loved to see some animation between Jim and John, but they way it’s set in between the modes with the different backgrounds and lighting that helps tell the story is nicely done the more I think about it.
But on the action front when you are actually shooting at the zombies, there is just something that is a little off and I am not sure if its’ the detail of the zombies or some of their movement, but I know there was a limited amount of developers working on Pancake House and it just makes me wonder that if they had the number of people that they needed, how much more realistic these zombies would have looked and moved along with some of the areas that could have benefited more in the right amount of light.
Let’s talk about the weapons for a moment. When you are playing, you do get to select a certain amount of weapons and can access your weapon wheel where, if you have the time, able to replenish your ammo as you will need to do this fairly often. I really do appreciate this aspect being put in because sometimes what one type of gun may not work, another one surely will. But the thing about the weapon wheel is not all weapons are immediately available, so make sure you chose wisely. But using a weapon with a scope does feel pretty awesome and being able to look through the scope as you make those headshots on the zombies is pretty well done. So good job ELIOT…good job.
Let’s talk about the sound for a moment. With no animation between the two characters, the voice-overs help out the situation. You can tell by the voice that an answer will be found or die trying. The music fits the type of game with some times the zombie sounds overpowering the rest of the sounds of the game when in battle. I get that zombies are surrounding and attacking, but maybe if there could just be a little more of a balance in all that I am saying Another thing with the sound is when you are walking, you hear your footsteps all the time. I think maybe if the steps could get lowered then the rest of the sounds may balance themselves out.
If anything I would love to see is an update to the details of the zombies and the way that some of them move at times. I like how when you shoot them and the blood has this almost smoke-like effect, but up close the zombies almost didn’t feel as complete as it could. Also, a balance to the sounds of the game. If I am moving and zombies are attacking, to have almost a tug of war between footsteps and zombie sounds with the music lowered may have players thinking there might be an imbalance. And the last thing I would see added would be some type of co-op 4 player online action thrown into the mix. Sure going at zombies alone is fun, but just think how much more awesome it would be, especially in the defense mode where you have zombies coming at you from different angles, to have your friends there and helping each other out.
Pancake House is by no means something terrible. Does it have room for improvement? Yes. Would co-op be awesome? Yes, it would. Is Pancake House going to be for everyone, maybe not? But I do know that sometimes regardless of how stressful life can be, that standing your ground and facing those problems can sometimes be more of a relief than we would have thought?
Pancake House is out now on Steam and PlayStation VR. A review code was provided.
To learn more about Eliot, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Instagram.
Also, check out the Pancake House interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, it’s the Halloween season and it’s open season on these zombies.