Allumette Review

After having tried the wonderful Senza Peso and the too-short Lost, I decided to try another short animation movie called Allumette, by Penrose Studios.

This is a little movie that you can look with your Oculus Rift and that talks about a story clearly inspired by The Little Match Girl of Hans Christian Andersen. If you know something about this Danish novel, well, you know that it’s very very sad: also this VR experience is sad and you’ll have ninja cutting onions near you and making you cry: you’ve been warned.

It’s the story of a little girl in a frozen night, that has only three matches with her. These matches are not realistic ones, but quite big and magical ones. She will light 2 of that 3 matches and for every match, she will remember a moment that she had lived with her mother, and you will live this moment with her. The environment is very very well made: it is like a non realistic cartoon town and you are able to focus especially on a little place near a bridge where all the narration happens.

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
The little piece of the town you’ll be focused on during the experience. Look the little girl with a match in her hands: she’s so sad and so cold…

Audio is not that important in this experience: there is no dialogue: all characters just talk using gestures and mumbling. I think they made it like these to avoid making translations for every possible language (even Henry is made like this, so this choice is quite common at the moment). The visuals are a pleasure to be seen, and the ability to use Oculus positional tracking to move a little inside this town, to look things from a different perspective, is something that this cartoon lets you exploit a lot: in fact they suggest you to watch the movie in standing position.

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
This is the lowest part of the town: you can crouch to look it better. As you can see all the graphics is astonishing

Sometimes you can use this feature to look inside objects too: two times I just put my head inside a ship to have a better visual of the action.

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
Here I had just put my head inside the boat, to see better what the little girl was doing

One of the coolest stuff of this experience is that you stay near an edge of the city and sometimes objects fall off this edge and you are willing to take it while they fall: there are two moments when your brain is completely tricked and you’re like “wow, I’m living in the future”!

Something that I didn’t like was that this movie is very slow: narration is really slow and considering the fact that you’re standing on your feet (and that’s a bit tiring), it gives you some kind of frustration. And the fact that the story is very sad, surely doesn’t help!

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
The only happy moment of the plot, the episode where Allumette and the mother sell matches together

Another downside of this experience is that animations are not smooth and sometimes you’ve the impression that something is lagging (and my PC has a GTX1080…so it can’t be its fault!)

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
Instead this is the “ok, now I’m completely sad” moment of the plot

A final judgement is that Allumette is a great virtual reality experience, really well crafted and that can give you emotions (and that’s what virtual reality is very good at doing)… so it is something that is surely worth trying. But honestly I didn’t like it because it is too sad and slow.

Allumette animation vr oculus rift
A sunny day in Allumette’s town

But as I always say: don’t trust my opinon and go watching it by yourself to create yours! And then let me know in the comments if you liked it!

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Skarredghost

AR/VR developer, startupper, zombie killer. Sometimes I pretend I can blog, but actually I’ve no idea what I’m doing.

I tried to change the world with my startup Immotionar, offering super-awesome full body virtual reality, but now the dream is over. But I’ve still not waken up…