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‘Floor Plan’ Review: ‘Grim Fandango’ Meets VR Puzzle Solving

by Joe Durbin • May 31st, 2016
Platform: Samsung Gear VR (Reviewed) and Oculus Rift
Positives

-Colorful Characters
-Satisfying puzzles
-Dynamic environments
-Crisp Visuals

Negatives

-Repetitive gameplay
-Short length
-Finicky Controls

Floor Plan is the latest project from the guys over at Turbo Button, the developer’s behind Adventure Time: Magic Man’s Headgames and one of the most promising young VR studios around.

This new title is a an adventure style puzzle game that clearly draws its inspiration from the old Lucas Arts classics such as The Secret Of Monkey Island and Grim Fandango. Floor Plan, like those games, asks you to follow a trail of interactions with characters, objects and environments to solve the riddles it is posing.

So, does Floor Plan translate the same sense of whimsy and logical delight found in those all-star titles into the realm of virtual reality?

The answer is: kind of.

RIFT_snow_floor

Floor Plan’s basic concept is simplicity itself. You spend the vast majority of the game contained within an elevator that takes you to a variety of different floors – each with its own cartoonish mascot. There is little explanation to get you going, but you quickly realize that each floor’s inhabitant or environment requires something from one of the other locations in order to be completed.

Each floor has at least one object or person you can interact with and – through a combination of logic and trial and error – you deduce which character from one floor is most deserving of the object from another. If you’re wrong in your assumption, the object will be rejected but if you’re correct the environment of this other-worldly tower will start to transform.

These environmental shifts based off of your actions are where Floor Plan truly shines. The dripping ceiling in one floor is dismissed at first glance as just a cosmetic addition, but as you progress you begin to realize that the jackhammer-man on the floor above might be able to turn that leak into a veritable downpour for the thirsty plant below.

RIFT_gumball_floor

Logical leaps such as these are what guide your progression. Discovering them – and watching the fallout from your decisions play out with the colorful cast of characters – is easily the most fun you’ll have in floor plan. Each floor feels different, each puzzle feels like its own challenge, and each solution is imminently satisfying.

The drawback in Floor Plan is that its basic gameplay loop gets stale fairly quickly. The puzzles, while satisfying to solve, aren’t all that difficult to crack. There are a few head scratchers that will make you slap your forehead when you finally figure it out, but for the most part the process of gathering an item, taking it to a certain floor, seeing if it can interact with anything, rinsing, and repeating can get a bit old.

GVR_LavaFloor

Floor Plan is also a fairly short experience that can be beaten in less than an hour or two by true puzzle masters.

The final sticking point is that the controls can be just a bit on the finicky side. You’ll need to aim carefully to make sure you’ve interacted with the correct point in a given room.  There were a few times that I left the correct floor all together – thinking I was in the wrong place – only to find while backtracking in desperation that the problem wasn’t  my deductions, but where I was aiming the reticle.

These issues are all perfectly tolerable, however, and shouldn’t dissuade puzzle fans with a VR headset from picking this one up for a quick round of colorful brain teasers.-

Final Score: 6/10 – Decent 

Floor Plan is another promising game that shows just how much potential Turbo Button has as a studio. This is a decent game with fun puzzles, but gamers outside of that genre will likely find little to compel them here. Floor Plan’s visuals are crisp and its pacing is tight, but all-in-all the short length and repetitive gameplay keep this one from scoring any higher on our scale.

Read our Game Review Guidelines for more information on how we arrived at this score.

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