Do you ever look at a sculpture or a painting and wondered what might have been the inspiration, the meaning behind it all, or even what the artist was feeling? Have you ever wanted to escape within that painting of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or Monet’s “Water Lilly” and just visit and see maybe the artist creating at that exact moment or even walked in the same footsteps to really understand? It’s something I often thought about when just admiring the artistic visionary of the artist and with those thoughts, I always thought how awesome it would be if there was some way to experience that all in VR. So does Publisher DeerVR Games and Developer Shanghai Motion Magic combine the ability to visit and admire the artwork in new ways? Let’s find out with A Room Where Art Conceals for the PlayStation VR.
In A Room Where Art Conceals, the world is post-apocalyptic one where the artwork has been destroyed through time and space wormholes, where you must save the artwork to save the human emotions within the art. When you first start you have a choice between three rooms of some famous artists, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch, and Vincent Van Gogh as well as a collection room that will allow you to revisit the paintings with extra narration that hopefully, you will find inspiring and informative. There is no correct order in which to enter and experience what A Room Where Art Conceals has to offer, just make sure either your DualShock 4 controller or Move controller is ready to go.
As I entered my first room and I was told the room was happy to see me, I really did get that sense as the room came alive of somewhat with flower petals just falling as I enter the world of Monet. Now, I will say that there are some puzzle elements in A Room Where Art Conceals, but they are not difficult. Sometimes you just have to look around in order to get the puzzle piece you need. Once you do and can enter, it’s like a magic world just opens up just for you. The classical music playing, birds chirping, the humming of the dragonflies as you are going through Monet’s “Water Lilly is truly beautiful that I am glad that the ability to keep coming back to just being able to escape and relax is there.
But one of the things I thought was interesting is that when you go through a painting and it ends, you go to the next puzzle element which then brought up the same painting but going through it a night time and then winter time. Which in Monet’s “Water Lilly” really gave me a new appreciation for what the artist was trying to capture with their art. Going through it at night and then visiting at winter and seeing where the bridge had this snowy almost frozen aspect to it and making my waiting for Fall to come that much harder.
When I entered Munch’s Room the tone of the setting changed as I was able to enter the painting of “The Scream”. Hearing the crows, the wind pass me by as the leaves for coming at me to the treeless leaves with the different colors of orange and red in the sky just added to my appreciation as he was showing a representation of anxiety of the modern man and then coming to a realization and more of an understanding of what so many people actually go through in life. But to experience it over and over again and notice the changes of what seemed to be getting darker and darker, made me really want to get into the mind and see the world through his eyes.
The last door that I entered was Vincent Van Gogh’s and this is something I am glad I waited towards the end for. Being able to go through a hot air balloon while visiting a “Starry Night” was simply a new way to experience an already classic painting. The sky was almost like this waterfall of colors of a milky way that almost seemed like they were getting ready to crash over the buildings and houses below. It’s as almost as Vincent Van Gough painted this hot air balloon just for me and it was this magic ticket in the mind of this artist.
Let’s talk about the graphics for a minute. Some may say that they are of low quality. But think about this for a moment. Look at the paintings and take “The Scream” for example. The paintings to some have such a meaning, that there doesn’t need to be a lot of high-quality detail in them. My experience had me feeling that the ability to add to or almost try and match the same type of quality style was that it just seemed like the right move for what A Room Where Art Conceals is giving us with the experience. Maybe too much of an HD pop would distort the vision of what the artist envisioned. Remember, we are entering these paintings and the way Shanghai Motion Magic allowed any of us to enter and have us be the center while the world of the artistry of these artists come alive like it did is really special and should be appreciated for what it is.
If there is anything I would like to see added is some turning options. Yes, teleportation works here, but in the rooms I wanted to get up close and look around just to get a closer look at the rooms of these artists. Another thing would be instead of just showing the Move controller as a Move controller, maybe have a representation of a paint brush or different art tools just to add to the experience. And last, more rooms. Yes, more rooms are coming and I understand it is hard work, but I just wanted more to explore.
When we look at art, some will take a glimpse and not think about it again or some might take the time to appreciate the work that goes into something. When we become too busy to appreciate what is presented, sometimes what we focus our appreciation on after a while becomes not as important. Life is too short to not take the time to appreciate the smaller things in life and before we know it, that life where we were too busy and older to appreciate what was presented will soon pass us by, and isn’t that what we want more of in life, is to be more appreciated?
A Room Where Art Conceals is out now on PlayStation VR. A review code was provided. To learn more about Shanghai Motion Magic, please visit their site. To learn more about DeerVR Games, make sure you follow them on Twitter.
Also, check out the interview.
In case you missed the trailer, please enjoy. Until next time, I am going to continue to enjoy all that I can.