Some days ago, I’ve been contacted from 1C publishing studio for a possible review of one of their games: Lantern. I’ve said to myself “why not?” and so I played a bit with their game… and here you can find my honest review.
Lantern is a relaxing experience for Oculus, Vive and OSVR: you can find it on Steam, where you can download a little demo and then purchase the full game for €6,99, if you want. It isn’t truly a game, but more something that you can play to have some relaxing moments in virtual reality.
When the game starts, you’re provided with a 2D menu that is hard to control with mouse and keyboard: I’ve had lots of difficulties in understanding how to activate the menu entries, because the cursor sometimes disappeared.
Once you manage to click on start, a little 2D intro showing an asian girl is proposed to you, just to put you in the right mood for the game that starts little after.
The game environment is a nice low-poly world, where all is gray and sad. The visuals are very nice and I appreciated them. You can control a little lantern to spread the love and make all the world become coloured again. You control the lantern with your space key (that acts as a throttle) and with your mouse (that sets the direction towards which the lantern can move in the space).The control system is interesting and very easy to use, once you’ve mastered with it a bit. Luckily they’ve added little icons nearby the lantern that appear when the user seems struck, just to help the novice user with the controls: I appreciated this a lot.
The only purpose of the game is moving this lantern around the world, to colour it again. When objects get coloured, they come to life, so for example, pigs start moving and eating.
I liked this effect, too. Sometimes you can trigger a super-love-wave with your mouse click. This game is all peace and love… very hippy.
If you’re wondering if the game is truly relaxing, yes, it is. And the background music is really beautiful and calming… and hearing the sea waves relaxes you even more. I love sea waves, so I liked this developers’ choice a lot.
But, honestly speaking, the game can become boring after some times: having a simple and only task to do frees you from every kind of stress, but become monotonous after some time… because nothing new in this games happens while you play it. There is not a “final boss of love” for every level… just the same task repeated again and again. The environments change for every level that you play, but element reactions to the love-wave are not so astonishing to justify you playing for a long amount of time. So, IMHO it is good for short moments of relaxation during your day, maybe to feel better at the end of your workday.
But the real problem is not this one… the real problem is motion sickness. This game managed to make me feel really sick after months that I haven’t got any bad sensation from VR anymore. Developers have reached the nirvana of motion sickness. They have made huge mistakes in handling camera movements:
- First of all, in the game sometimes there are un-requested camera movements. The game start with camera moving by itself and this is one of those things that a VR developer should never do
- Then, they use a control scheme where you have continuous linear and angular accelerations (since you move with the mouse) and this is the best way to make someone puke in few seconds.
That’s the terrible part: I’ve VR legs and I felt sick, so the game is absolutely not good from this point of view. I think that bad reviews that they have on Steam depend all on this.
So, what’s my final judgement? Lantern is a nice experience, but I think that its developers have to solve their 2 biggest problems (monotony and motion sickness) before hoping to start selling lots of copies on Steam. Wish they’ll make an update and solve these issues.
As always, download the game and try it by yourself to have your personal opinion. And if you liked this article, like and share it!