Puzzling Places – The PlayStation VR2 Review

April 8, 2023 ·

We are all familiar with puzzles and the pieces it takes to put them together. From the original flat version to even more intriguing 3D versions. Puzzles have developed over time to where we can even have them as a centerpiece of our collection to share with friends and family. Puzzles and the pieces that come with them can help us relax and allow our minds to refresh. But does developer realities.io add new pieces to the puzzle? Let’s find out with Puzzling Places for PlayStation VR2.

Puzzling Places brings relaxing and wholesome 3D jigsaw puzzling to VR and is a modern take on an age-old pastime that’s fun for the whole family thanks to its simple gameplay and easy controls that features a variety of beautiful 3D puzzles to solve, and with the PSVR2’s haptic feedback and eye tracking, makes the experience even more immersive. So before trying to put puzzles together as quickly as you think you can, there are a few things that you should be aware of. First, as always, find your favorite place to sit. You work and play hard, so you might as well be as relaxed as you can. Second, make sure those Sense controllers are charged as you don’t want to have that final piece of the puzzle and cannot complete it because you forgot to charge them. And finally, there is no need to rush, just have some fun. With all that said, let’s continue…

For those that have not played yet, the concept is very familiar to anyone who has put together a jigsaw puzzle. Except here, in Virtual Reality, you get the extra bonuses of not only sight but sound as well. In January 2022, I reviewed Puzzling Places for the PlayStation VR, but I wanted to see how or if any improvements have been made since its debut. So I was excited to see that one of the big improvements was the resolution. Starting out, you have the library that you can filter and use tags for your favorite puzzles. One of the first things you will want to do is go into Settings, under Audio, and make sure the volume is all the way up and that Play Tonal Audio is selected. You also have choices such as using a 360-degree Puzzle Piece Shelf and even using a minimalistic environment along with the Game Modifiers for hiding reference images, puzzle noir that will switch the puzzle pieces to black and white for that extra challenge, or even randomized the puzzle piece rotations. You can even alter the controls to your liking. The choices are yours to embrace. But scroll all the way to the bottom and make sure Enable Eye Tracking, Enable Adaptive Triggers, and Enable Two-Handed Rotation are checked for the best experience.

When you have everything the way that you want it, you can now select a puzzle from the library or go through the tutorial. Even if you have played the game before, go through the tutorial and just get used to the new features. Not only have the visuals improved but there is something about the sound that just sounds better that really had me intrigued as to how the sounds of the puzzles would come alive and I couldn’t wait to jump right in. When you select a puzzle, you do have a choice on the number of pieces you will start out with. You have the option to go with 25, 50, 100, 200, or 400 pieces. So if you are just starting out, go with 25 or 50 pieces. Just because the picture you are selecting looks simple, when you select 400 pieces, it can be overwhelming. But start out small to at least get used to everything. If you find yourself just not able to complete the puzzle, don’t stress over it as you can always go back home and select another puzzle. But just hang in there and you will eventually solve the puzzle.

What I really like about the puzzles here is that they are all based on real-world locations such as the Valdštejn Castle, the Halil Bey Mosque, and the Hallwyl Museum just to name a few. The smaller puzzles are a great way to relax and unwind, while the larger puzzles will provide you with a more challenging experience. What I still love about Puzzling Places is how each piece connects and as you get closer to that completion how the sounds will start to come alive. But not only do the sounds come alive, but the buildings themselves start to have this personality as each piece you pick up and try to piece together only to start to feel the resistance of the other pieces around it. This helps you to get a better sense of the puzzle and makes it easier to find the correct pieces. With eye-tracking enabled, when you look at a piece, the game will highlight the edges of the piece so that you can see how it fits into the puzzle. This is a great feature for people who have trouble seeing smaller details and being able to see the amount of detail that is put in really impresses on the PlayStation VR2.

Let’s talk about the graphics and sound. If you thought everything looked great on PlayStation VR, playing on the PlayStation VR2 is even sharper with being able to pick up an individual piece or even when your puzzle is completed, just looking at everything in your hands makes you appreciate the finer details. The sound also is very impressive with the 3D audio as the sense of the atmosphere comes alive from the wind blowing to things like a ghost making an evil laugh with the Haunted House and all this really comes through with the Pulse 3D Audio headset.

There are a few things that I would love to see. The first thing I wished there was in my PlayStation VR review was more puzzles and Realities.io have more than stepped up with the DLC that is available with the recent Behind High Walls and Variety Pack. So I say keep bringing them. I would still love to see the option where players could upload a picture and after validation, the picture could be made into a 3D puzzle and then have it where anyone could play or even the option to incorporate Google Earth so you can search for a location and then have that instantly become a puzzle. The only other thing would be after completing a puzzle, would be the ability to be able to walk through and enjoy everything on a life-sized scale.

Puzzling Places for PlayStation VR2 still takes the pastime of puzzling and takes the level that it set and raises it with the incorporation of the features and just allows us to escape to a different part of the world and look at things from a different view. Life as we know it is a puzzle, but it’s how we try and fit in those pieces that can really show how beautiful life really is.

Puzzling Places is out now for PlayStation VR, PlayStation VR2, and Quest/2. If you have the PlayStation VR version, you can upgrade to the PlayStation VR2 version for free.

To learn more about realaties.io, please visit their site, like them on Facebook, like them on Twitter, and subscribe to their YouTube channel.

Also, check out the Puzzling Places PlayStation VR2 video review:

In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to try and solve some 400-piece puzzles.

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