Arguably the best games for VR are shooters and sword games. Combining a linear adventure story with great combat, Journey of the Gods is a fun solo experience for players of all skill levels.
Interesting Story and Lovable Characters
As you start your journey, you are taken through a tutorial, of sorts, through the mechanics of the game: shooting your crossbow and using your sword and shield. However, then you are thrust into combat immediately and tasked with saving some local villagers. The adorable nature of the game is immediately noticeable.
While there is no real dialog, the characters are able to make Sims-like noises, making them even more endearing (in my opinion). Instruction and dialogue are brought through pop-up windows which match the aesthetic of the game. It’s this attention to detail that really shines in Journey of the Gods. Taking the graphical limitations of the VR hardware and leaning into a more animated, almost Rayman style really works here.
After your first encounter, you are taken to the game’s hub area, in the form of a village. It’s here that you’ll be able to make upgrades to your weapons and powers (I’ll get to those in a little bit). Everything here is designed with a consistency that not all VR games can manage. It’s those small details that get glossed over too often.
Small design choices and character models can really help to bring a sense of the world that a developer is trying to create. It is one of the first things I look for in a game, as it can be a key indicator of the level of attention and love a dev team is able to put into their creation. Honestly, even the monsters you fight are kind of cute.
Power of the Gods
In addition to the aforementioned crossbow, sword, and shield, you are granted “god powers”. Activating the “god powers” enlarges you to a massive size, essentially shrinking the world around you to the size of a playset. This is possibly Journey of the Gods’ most interesting mechanic. When at this size, you can shrink or enlarge trees, grab lightning from the sky and use it to strike enemies (which are also shrunken the size of a chess piece) among other powers. The transition from normal size to super large is fairly seamless and is a really unique effect.
As you adventure along, the story unfolds fairly quickly. It’s nothing earth-shattering. The standard “evil is rising, and only you have the power to save the day” is kind of fair. However, what Journey of the Gods lacks in story, it more than makes up for in responsive combat, fun upgrades, and inventive enemies.
When looking at VR, it’s important to remember that systems are still, basically, in their toddler stages. Making the most of what VR can do isn’t always easy, and some developers are able to do a better job than others. Turtle Rock Studios has taken an approach that has proven to be successful for many companies, using the limitations to their advantage. Crafting a challenging hero’s journey that is both fun and aesthetically well made. If you’re looking for a fun “hack and slash” made with thought and care, Journey of the Gods is one of the best VR has to offer.