Now that the PlayStation VR2 has seen the light of day, all kinds of content has started appearing on it. Among the projects with large budgets, indie developers naturally build their own applications with variations in quality. The Finnish game company Jestercraft debuts for PS VR2 with the game Seeker My Shadow, which previously debuted on PC VR. In a nutshell, the idea is to solve puzzles in a family-friendly environment.
Seeker My Shadow’s story is a mystery. The book in the menu tells the player to turn the pages with their virtual hands, but when you try to press the supposed activation button, the menu just disappears and the game starts without any explanation. A small restricted area appears in front of the player’s eyes, seen from an isometric perspective. Various platforms, buildings, accessories and characters are scattered throughout the area. A character that looks like an old sailor tells the main objectives of your goal and after that it is up to the player to guess and try to reach the given goal. For the most part, it feels like the game starts in the middle of the story, and many questions arise such as why there is a dog jumping out of an Easter egg, and why is the same dog colored purple?
The concept in Seeker My Shadow is basically quite nice. The player must solve physical puzzles using the purple dog character in the level and virtual hands that are outside the level. The stick-controlled dog can, for example, push boxes and trigger pressure plates to open doors and activate mechanisms. With the virtual hands, the player can see the area from different angles by rotating the platform by pressing the stick. The player can also, for example, press buttons found or rotate cranks from outside the area to get the necessary changes for the dog to travel to the assigned location so that the level can be completed.
Aside from the awkward mechanism of spinning the play area, the game’s controls work smoothly. Unfortunately, the new PS VR2 features haven’t been used, which feels like wasted potential to deepen the gaming experience. The mild vagueness of the character’s identity and the unclear reasons for solving the puzzles make the experience feel shallow and superficial. Although it is quite easy to solve the puzzles and you make good progress in the game, as a so-called small game, everything that Seeker My Shadow has to offer is discovered quickly, and interest begins to fade quite quickly.
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The visual aspect of Seeker My Shadow is disturbingly conflicted and systematically disjointed. In its simplicity, the game area is pleasingly stylized down to structures and characters. Pastel colors are used in a controlled manner within the level, apart from some odd overreactions with the same color. For example, the player-controlled purple dog looks unfinished with no details and is designed with only one color. Transitioning from one area to another is always done by fading the screen to black, which breaks immersion and is annoying, especially when playing with VR. The book in the menu is copied straight from the Moss games, but it lacks the page-turning mechanic and other cool details (or at least I couldn’t find a way to enable them). The game’s visual potential is drowned out by too many separate elements as there is no clear direction. But at least the game runs fine with PS VR2.
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Even the in-game sounds are more of an annoyance than an atmosphere-enhancing element. The few sound effects used don’t really stand out apart from an artificial and annoyingly repetitive dog barking. The music is decent enough to carry a relaxed and positive mood for the game.
Seeker My Shadow lacks direction and overall focus, crippling its fun core idea into a confusing game that quickly becomes uninteresting. Sure, the game can be exciting for a while, but since all the PS VR2 features are ignored and the same kind of ideas are already used in better ways in other games, there’s no need to spend too much time on this.