Critical Play: Mysteries

HitchHiker is a VR game which is a mystery/walking sim. It is a narrative adventure game in which you ride with five strangers, trying to understand your past. Your travel companions might first appear to be strangers before you slowly begin to realise you might have some history with them, and they drop hints about your past. 

The mechanics support the mystery when experiencing the game in VR. It’s easy to lose yourself looking out the window, and it makes it feel embodied in the experience. I played the first chapter of 5 chapters, which was about 40 minutes. The main ways to engage with characters is by selecting the dialogue you want them to have, and this unravels the mystery of the relationships between the characters.

The mechanics don’t support the mystery because the game essentially treats your controllers like a mouse pointer, meaning you just use a hand to aim at an object, click it, and then inspect it from an inventory menu. A hand tracker and gesture detection would be a better option. This prevents you from fully immersing yourself in the environment. When you’re forced to sit in this world with no alleviation since it’s in VR, it starts to drain. 

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