Introducing the Simulation Video Game Time Machine VR
The return of a virus from the past that has evolved to be so deadly, leaving millions dead—it is a scenario we all dread. The Jurassic flu is ravaging humanity and medical research can’t find a way to save mankind from possible extinction.
There’s only one thing we can do in such an impasse: travel back in time to the Jurassic period and gather scientific data on the creatures and use it to find a cure to the deadly virus.
Time Machine VR, a game developed by Minority Media, is now available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and does a fabulous job at creating the same Jurassic flu scenario in a virtual space.
What Is Time Machine VR?
It’s the newest video game that’s taking the virtual reality world by storm. But what exactly is Time Machine VR?
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With the Time Machine VR, you get the chance to go back in time.
You are a scientist based in Svalbard, Norway, and you travel from the present-time Mundo Museo Research facility back in time to earlier eras via a time-traveling pod that is equipped with different research tools that would aid you in your search for knowledge. The VR places you in the aquatic realms of 155 million years ago.
Your objective is to gather data on aquatic life by scanning and tagging organisms from the Jurassic age. As you do so, your research guide, Elizabeth, will keep you informed about the progress being made on the virus at present.
Time Machine VR is created to show that virtual reality can be used for educational purposes and not just entertainment. Its makers want to show that it does an excellent job at educating the player about life during the Jurassic age and can be more effective than any teaching tool, as it brings real-world info into VR.
You would quickly learn the mechanics of the game at the beginning, as it is relatively easy to understand, but the controls that are used for movement are rather clunky and uncomfortable and the lack of precision in the controls can be frustrating. The whole data gathering process is done under water, and you never get to land save for interludes between missions.
It is a unique game, and it relaxes the player as they try to complete all missions. There isn’t a sense of urgency, as you don’t feel any attachment to the “ravaged world in urgent need of research data,” which reduces the impact of the narrative significantly.
The game’s predictability makes it boring. As you finish each task, you will observe that the sea life swim in fixed patterns and the whole experience appears strictly linear and repetitive. During your mission, you don’t get to interact much, as you have to spend most of your time trying to figure things out or reading the data you have gathered.
There are exciting and definitely frightening moments, though. Aggressive sea life will see you as a meal and chase you if you get too close. Getting eaten might be terrifying the first few times, but there are no consequences and you will jsut be respawned nearby. Once you realize this, the scare will lose its edge.
The environment isn’t exceptionally impressive, but the individual character models are. Another drawback is the lack of variety in the mission structures. The objectives remain similar, and using the Vive’s left wand, you can control your pod, have it swim around, which feels very authentic by the way. You can switch between the different tools you use in your research by pressing the track pad and selecting which tools you wish to use.
The Vive’s right hand works pretty well when you are using tools than the Rift’s head tracking solution. On the other hand, the Rift’s Xbox One controller is more intuitive and has less arm-straining experience.
Nevertheless, the Time Machine VR feels more like an educational game than an adventure. Time Machine VR is an interesting experience, but it needs a good deal of polish. The repetitive gameplay, short game time, the motion sickness it causes, and its hefty price tag just doe’t do it for many people.