Spheres is an educational VR space app unlike any other. Whereas the likes of Star Chart and Titans of Space can enamor you with fantastical sights and plentiful facts, Spheres is the first VR app to truly embrace the awesome force of our universe and harness your headset to showcase it like never before. It does so in spectacular fashion, making it little wonder as to how it secured a seven-figure deal.
The Darren Aronofsky-produced experience consists of three episodes, each around 10 minutes in length. Every installment explores a particular phenomenon within our galaxy and beyond, from the warped machinations of a black hole to the birth of the planet we inhabit. Writer/Director Eliza McNitt finds a common thread to link these installments – sound. We watch magnetic fields soar past our ears, screeching as they go, and tap away at the beginnings of the universe as if it were a xylophone that’s had its bars scattered across the cosmos.
There’s a privileged beauty to experiencing it akin to hearing whale song for the first time. But it’s a visual feast, too, exposing the invisible workings of our galaxy in ways that are truly a sight to behold. Crucially, there’s interactivity at its heart. Spheres doesn’t just want you to watch, it wants to turn you into a celestial being capable of moving planets and toying with the very DNA of our universe. The blend of these three pillars — sight, sound and interaction — creates a 30-minute package that’s constantly astounding you in one way or another, like an interstellar playground that keeps on giving.
But it’s the second episode, narrated in measured whispers by Jessica Chastain (who only fuels the Interstellar comparisons we’ve already made), that’s the real standout. It’s a no-compromise journey into the center of a black hole with dizzying but extraordinary results. A light show like no other ensnares you as you find yourself in a hectic haze of gravity. Perhaps most tellingly, it’s an educational experience I won’t soon forget.
Spheres is VR’s equivalent to Planet Earth or Blue Planet, a high-production tour de force that will sweep you up in the majesty of the universe around us and leave you wide-eyed and overwhelmed. It’s one of the most competent showcases of how VR can truly give you an experience unlike anything else, and it’s not to be missed.
Final Say: Must See
Spheres is available now on Oculus Rift for $9.99.