The Lost Bear PlayStation VR Review

Publisher: Fabrik Games  Developer: Oddbug Studio  Genre: Puzzle Platformer  Players: 1  

Age Rating: 12+ Other console/handheld formats: N/A

It has been proven that VR can be used effectively in non-first person games, and with that said it’s not always worth writing off such games. True, one of the appeals of VR is to actually become the character, but it’s also nice to see VR headsets being used as a cinematic tool, which makes you feel as if you are an observer to what is happening in front of your eyes.

The Lost Bear tells the simple story of a girl called Walnut and her teddy bear. The game starts out cheerfully enough, but changes in tone suddenly when the cuddly toy falls from Walnut’s loving grasp, and you’ll then spend the game pursuing it. The story is barely there and is told through imagery, but it does enough to set the mood as well as giving you some sort of reason as to why a young child is venturing through ever darker environments.

The hand-painted style art style adds to the charm.

The Lost Bear is a side scrolling puzzle platformer, and with this said you might initially wonder as to why the developer opted for the use of VR. The game is beautifully presented though, and the hook  here is that it feels like you are sitting in a diorama theatre, while Walnut and company are up front, centre stage. With VR adding in depth, leaves and such flying towards your face, and off-stage surroundings matching the theme of the current environment, the use of VR becomes an amazing choice.

The game itself is a bit simpler than its presentation though. Taking place across five chapters, the platforming mechanics are pleasing enough, although the puzzling side of things hardly gets the old gray matter working. Even though there’s a sense of trial and error in certain portions of the game, puzzles are gently designed, meaning that most shouldn’t be stuck on any for very long. The dark, murky and atmospheric environments are also beautiful driving points.

Walnut is equipped with a catapult, which has you using the DualShock 4 to target with. The catapult comes into play on a number of occasions, as does using motion control to move things such as magnets and lifts. It all works well enough, and the pacing is also well done, with solving a puzzle sometimes leading to a chase scene and whatnot.

Loading times are a less positive thing about the game. Failure leads to loading times that last for around 15 seconds, which can be rather painful, particularly if you struggle with a particular section in the game, and you have to tolerate the loading screen time and time again.

Despite how short the game is, the environments are pleasingly diverse.

This is a very nicely made game that has obviously been made with deft hands as well as lots of passion, and that’s why it’s a real shame that there just isn’t enough of it. As wonderfully paced that the game is, it can be completed in only an hour, which just feels criminal. It feels criminal not only because the game is slightly overpriced at £7.99, but it also feels this way as what is there is memorable enough, and a lot more of it would have been hugely appreciated. Other than the typical trophies, there’s little immediate replay value to be found here, which is also a shame for such a brief game.

Because of what I mentioned above, The Lost Bear is another VR game that is very well made and a great experience while it lasts, but it feels like it could have been so much more. Regardless of its brevity and loading time issues though, The Lost Bear is a wonderfully presented game that is difficult not to like, and if you are anything like me you really will want to see Walnut reunited with her beloved teddy bear. It’s just a shame that the ending comes all too soon.