I have a gamer confession. I have never really gotten on with puzzle games. I’ve found the puzzle games I’ve played in the past to often have solutions that are too obtuse and arbitrary or are far too tedious, to the point where finally solving the puzzle feels like 60% luck. If more puzzle games were like Statik, however, I would consider myself a fan of the genre.
Statik is a Playstation VR title that challenges players to think outside the box in order to progress through it’s various levels. In all but one puzzle, you find your hands locked into a box shaped contraction with various knobs, dials, and other sciency looking protrusions. If you move your controller around or tilt it, so does the box move in the exact same way. Here the left and right thumbsticks, the d-pad, the face buttons, shoulder buttons and triggers each control various aspects of the box often initially in bizarre, unknown ways. In most puzzles a blurry faced scientist watches you and doles out underhanded compliments or chastises you for your slowness. This scientist who is the only character in the game is a quirky, and often depressing individual. Who the scientist, what his, and by extension, your purpose is in solving these puzzles is kept deliberately vague throughout the entirety.
Without a comprehensible story, the focus is entirely on the puzzles themselves and these would undoubtedly be the star of the show even if it were a story focused experience. What’s brilliant about Statik’s puzzles is the abundance of “aha!” moments that they provide. To progress to the next level you have to find the final solution to the box, but unlike many puzzles, even solving individual smaller solutions on the way to the bigger solution gives a feeling of satisfaction. Finding out what the left side of the box does or how it interacts with the right side, for instance often requires searching your environment for clues or thinking about things in a slightly different way. It’s hard to talk about the puzzles without spoiling them, so I’ll just say this, there were times where the solution was something right in front of me the entire time and I just wasn’t thinking creatively enough to have solved it. You feel like a light bulb goes off above your head when you finally work out the solution.
Graphically, the game looks great in VR. Because the box is so close to your face and is what you’ll be looking at for the majority of your playthrough, the graphics are crystal clear. Often things in VR look blurry at a distant, so it was a brilliant move to have your focus be on a close object. The environment around you also looks very crisp and somewhat realistic meaning this is a good VR game to show off, if for the visuals alone. Audio design too is a strong point for Statik as audio cues are oftentimes as important for solving a puzzle as visual cues. The voiceacting of the scientist is well done as well. His British voice is neither cheery nor overly sad, meaning even the scientists’ personality is a puzzle in itself.
As for game length, it’s fair enough for the price at around 3-4 hours to complete all the challenges. I will say there isn’t much in the way of replay value as once you’ve figured out how the puzzle works, it becomes ridiculously easy on a second play through.
As I’ve said before, Statik is a brilliant puzzle game that outshines many in the genre. It’s solutions walk that fine line between confusing and satisfying leading to many moments where you feel like a genius. It’s one of the better VR titles I’ve experienced and should be a part of any VR enthusiasts library.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to email@example.com.
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