I’m not sure why we haven’t seen a more successful take on VR co-op in the vein of VR Giants yet.
Games like Covert and Keep Talking are proof local VR multiplayer works and titles like Astro Bot, Moss and Ghost Giant are essentially solo co-op experiences begging for a second player. Clearly, others are hungry for it too; VR Giants is nearing a modest $11,445 Kickstarter goal despite a somewhat primitive demo that showcases some promising ideas.
In this VR platformer, one player puts on a headset and controls a stone giant, while another grabs a controller to navigate levels as a very, very tiny human. The pair must work together to collect a set amount of coins, opening checkpoints to reach the end of the level. The VR player is chained to a specific location so, no, they can’t just pick up their partner and walk to the end goal.
There’s no two ways about it; the demo and the extended preview we’ve seen are incredibly basic on a presentation front. The non-VR player appears to be some sort of animated strawberry and their user-interface and control scheme seems like it could have been mocked up in no time at all. However, solo developer Wolfgang Tschauko says that an improved art direction is one of the project’s top priorities.
Besides, this is one of those times you might need to look past the surface and dig a little deeper to see VR Giants’ true promise. There are some really fantastic ideas here, like getting the VR player to scoop up their platforming partner and whisk them to safety when danger comes calling. At times, the giant is used essentially like a moving platform, taxing the non-VR player from one area to the next. But it’s the more elaborate ideas that work best, like getting the giant to shield their friend from incoming molten boulders, or holding extended platforms that the other player can run along to reach distant areas of the map.
Right now what’s here is a collection of interesting showcases for the tech, but I’d love to see VR Giants evolve into a full, structured campaign in which its ideas evolve from the novel concepts here into some truly challenging gameplay.
There’s undoubtedly a lot of polish that needs to go into VR Giants before it releases, perhaps even more than its base Kickstarter goal would afford, but even in its demo state it’s an effective teaser sitting atop an undiscovered gold mine of local VR co-op. Plus its developers are planning accordingly; the team doesn’t anticipate launching the game until October 2021. Fingers crossed that, by then, VR Giants is ready to take a promising tech demo to the next step.