If you like your VR puzzling to be a little more otherworldly than Puzzling Places (or if you literally just want more of that winning formula) then you’ll want to put tomorrow’s release of Shores of Loci on your radar.
Releasing on May 24 in early access for Meta Quest (formerly Oculus Quest) App Lab and Steam, Shores of Loci is sumptuous in its aura, tasking players with piecing together dioramas of fictional landscapes that, upon completion, set down on the horizon in front of you at full scale. Each scene is split into pieces akin to a 3D puzzle, and you simply have to find which piece goes where, at which point the game will automatically stitch parts together.
It sounds very similar to the brilliant simplicity of Puzzling Places and, in truth, it is. But Shores of Loci does vary quite a bit in its approach to puzzles.
Each challenge, for example, provides only a handful of pieces at a time, waiting for you to slot them all into the right place before presenting the next pack. This is a useful bit of staging given that the exquisitely detailed designs — ranging from ancient civilizations to rickety fishing villages — can be tough to make sense of at times. It can often be tough to make head or tail of the parts you’re dealt and, while the game focuses on relaxation, it’s sometimes frustrating not being able to clearly see how things fit together. Nonetheless, there’s an instant hint button that will highlight two attachable areas upon pressing, and the game is judgment-free on using it.
But, if it’s easy to lose yourself in the puzzles, that’s largely down to the game’s irresistible presentation. Visually this is a dreamy world of marvels, from the soothing views you’ll take in from afar to the tiny miracles dotted around the puzzles themselves. The soundscape, meanwhile, is airy and wonderous, proving to be the perfect companion to the pacing.
Naturally, games of this type aren’t for everyone, but I found myself enraptured with Shores of Loci’s soothing blend of puzzling. With five main worlds and multiple puzzles between them, there’s a fair few hours to kill here and we hope to see more added over the course of early access. Even now, though, VR puzzle fans will find themselves swept up in this whimsy treat.
Shores of Loci will cost $15 when it launches tomorrow. We’ll have a keen eye on where it goes from here.