This has been republished from late May 2018 to coincide with E3 2018 coverage.
Vacation Simulator from Owlchemy Labs may look a lot like Job Simulator, but it packs a whole lot more than the studio’s first VR game. Designed as a direct successor to the comedic menial labor simulation experience, Vacation Simulator puts players in a wide range of stereotypical “relaxing” situations.
At a recent pre-E3 preview event we got the chance to go hands-on with the PSVR version of the game for the very first time after previously trying it out on a Vive Pro at GDC earlier this year.
In terms of content, the demos were basically the same. I got to visit the idyllic, colorful beach landscape you see in the screenshots and trailers here. I built a sandcastle, tossed a frisbee, took selfies in the water, and played a ball game with a robot. It was like the VR-fueled vacation I never knew I wanted.
What stood out to me most in terms of differences between playing on Vive Pro and PSVR is obviously the visual quality. The Pro was significantly more crisp with next to no noticeable screen door effect in a game with this sort of art style, whereas the PSVR didn’t quite reach that point. It still looked and ran great, mind you, because bright, bold visuals like this look great in any headset, but it was noticeably downgraded from the Vive Pro.
Additionally, since the PSVR doesn’t truly support 360 tracking for anything other than your actual headset (if you turn around your body blocks the camera from tracking the controllers) the layout was reorganized a bit I’m told. I didn’t actually notice the re-organization, as it’s very subtle, but this way they’ve ensured you never need to fully spin around on PSVR to access everything.
You might recall that Job Simulator is a series of small, mini-game style jobs like being a chef, a car mechanic, or a convenience store clerk. Each level has everything you need within arm’s reach so you never need to move around beyond your play space. Rick and Morty VR, Owlchemy’s second game, used that same concept but instead let you teleport back and forth between four squares on a grid that were each sized like the levels from Job Simulator. Now, with Vacation Simulator, there are entire worlds full of these zones that you teleport between to play.
My demo only offered a brief glimpse of the beach environment, but we’re told there will be several in total. And just like both previous Owlchemy games, we expect the majority of the fun will come from messing around with things, going off the beaten path, and seeing just how far the game’s physics will let us go. You can read more about the demo’s content and mechanics here.
All in all, Vacation Simulator is shaping up to be a worthy successor to Owlchemy’s iconic ‘simulator’ line of VR games. It’s slated for release on Rift, Vive, and PSVR later this year.
Let us know what you think of Vacation Simulator down in the comments below!