At PAX West this weekend, TheGamer was invited to try out a ton of new games. Some highly anticipated, like Final Fantasy VII Remake, and some gems that are completely under the radar, like DEEER Hunter. The most confusing game we played at PAX West, without a shadow of a doubt, was Groundhog Day; Like Father Like Son VR.
Granted, with a name like that, you have to sort of expect something a little out there. Groundhog Day VR repeat Groundhog Day for 10,000 years is a sequel to the iconic 1993 Bill Murray comedy in which Phil Connors is stuck in a time loop that sees him perpetually. In Like Father Like Son, you play as Connor's son, Phil Jr., who has also, unsurprisingly, found himself repeating Groundhog Day over, and over again.
When I was told the developer's were huge fan's of the film and had written a script some 400 pages long, I was intrigued. My mind raced with possibilities while I watched the intro cinematic the re-introduced classic character from the film like Ned Ryerson. I imagined living a day in a virtual Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania before repeating that day with full knowledge of all the events to come. How could I intervene? What time-related puzzles would there be to solve?
While the game may end up being some version of that, what I played was a pair of baffling mini-games that left me more confused than ever. The first was a shooting gallery that was apparently meant to represent coffee beans floating in space. There were bean grinder that, when fired at, would launch a projectile that would explode all the beans in it's path. If you've played God of War, it was similar to the light of Alfheim puzzle that required you to line up perfect axe throws. After 3 or so levels, I felt like I got the gist of it and moved on to the other puzzle.
The second puzzle started out much more promising but quickly overwhelmed me with frustration. A broken coffee machine requires attention, and after opening it up I was presented with a connect-the-pipes puzzle. Simple enough, I've done hundreds of these, including the ones in Doc Oc's lab in Marvel's Spider-Man. The problem is that the pipe pieces were very small, there were a ton of them, and I had to rotate them and place the in the correct spot on the board. Fine motor skills are not something PSVR is adept at, and I had the hardest time just getting my virtual hands to cooperate with me and not drop the pipes on the floor.
I was assured this was a camera is and not indicative of how the actual game will play, but after spending half an hour with Groundhog Day VR, I can confidently say I have no idea what the heck this game is.
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