Puzzles and the challenges they can bring. Sometimes they can be so difficult that it can make your head hurt, sometimes puzzles allow us to think in new ways, and sometimes puzzles allow us to play them in new ways. But what do Developer Steel Minions (Sheffield Hallam Uni) bring to the virtual table? Let’s find out with PieceFall VR for the PlayStation VR.
Back in July of 2015, there was a puzzle game for the PlayStation 4 called PieceFall released on the EU PlayStation Store. The idea was simple, familiar, and the formula worked. Falling blocks that are able to be flipped and rotated to fit in hopefully the correct places. But this student project of sorts provides students on Hallam’s game development degrees with the idea of a “workplace simulation” within a studio environment. Then in July 2016, PieceFall was released in the NA PSN Store. So this brings us up to date with the newest reincarnation for PieceFall, with PieceFall VR.
The controls are pretty straightforward. Use the left stick to move, the right stick (you can also use the L1 and R1) to rotate and X to make the pieces drop faster. Pretty simple and they work really well, so good job team on the controls.
But there needs to be a story here. One that is fun, that has a purpose, and one that comes from the heart. You see, at one time there were these islands. They were filled with these spiritual monuments that were full of energy with this perfect balance. Then something happened to the islands of PieceFall that disrupted the calmness. This is where you come in. You are the chosen one that can correct the unbalance of the islands, rebuild the monuments, and bring the spiritual peace back to PieceFall.
Each island has four parts that when once completed, part of the monument will be formed. The fun part comes when you are trying to figure out where the piece goes because what you may think at first, may not be correct for the next piece (which can be seen to the upper left), that you will need to plan accordingly. Don’t worry if you fail the level as you can retry and even after a certain amount of tips, you will have the option to get some help.
The one thing that was a little distracting was seeing the DualShock 4 controller. Sometimes seeing it had me looking at it vs focusing on placing the next piece. I am sure this can be corrected or maybe even have an option to not have it show. Again not a deal breaker, but just an observation.
Graphically are very well done. I could make out everything close and in the distance. I like when the pieces fall and if they may not fit will break to individual pieces, that at times thought if only that one tiny piece would just bounce to that spot that was needed and I would have passed the level.
Sound wise, PieceFall VR is very calming. Music and sounds are well balanced that you can just sit and be relaxed while you play. And honestly, sometimes it is the music as well as the game that you wish sometimes would be included as a separate download to enjoy as well. This at least for me is one of those times.
The puzzle genre can be challenging, rewarding, and sometimes it can be very relaxing. But when you can combine all three and bring that into Virtual Reality, that shows real determination. It just shows that with some dreams and hard work, anything is possible.
PieceFall VR is out now in the EU PSN store and will be coming to NA as both a standalone or as the Head Spinner Bundle that includes the PS4 version and VR as well. A review copy was provided. To learn more about Steel Minions (Sheffield Hallam Uni), please visit their site and make sure you like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I have more monuments to restore.