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VERTI-GO HOME! (PlayStation 4) artwork

VERTI-GO HOME! (PlayStation 4) review

"Tunneled Vision"

If there's one definite thing I learned during my early adventures into virtual reality gaming, it's that characters relentlessly rushing towards, and sometimes through, my face give off a bizarre sensation; even more when it's someone or something with a quirky design. Having said that... and against my better judgement... I decided to play Verti-Go Home, a first-person endless runner game where oddball characters and objects are programmed to rush toward, and sometimes through, my face. After seeing a brief trailer, I was immediately drawn to the strange visuals and wanted to download the game purely on that first visual impression, gameplay be damned. And upon my first playthrough, Verti-Go Home was what I hoped for on a graphical level: weirdness overload.

As I auto-traveled forward on long stretches of poles and through tunnels, both allowing me to rotate completely around them as a strafing maneuver, I was visually assaulted; flying right at my face, usually in the span of a few seconds, were giant dancing skeletons, giant daggers, giant wads of cash, giant mushrooms, giant cacti, giant sugar skulls, and giant match boxes... to name a few. If those weren't random enough, the surrounding surfaces and background scenery also got in on the mindtrip. One moment, I was traveling on a purple pole road as strobe lights filled the sky and blue asteroids littered the backdrops, and in another instance, I was in a see-through, psychedelic tunnel with huge bull skulls, buzz saw skulls, and... pallets? All this while a techno soundtrack of wavering quality blared through my ears.

Then. THEN... that's it. In what shouldn't have been a surprise, a game that tried so much to lure players with its vivid exterior wackiness has a very basic interior. Sure, the straightforward endless runner template engages with the use of quick dodge reflexes, for when a bevy of objects present a dangerous path on the way to the latest checkpoint... but that's also the issue with Verti-Go Home. It's a problem in a sense that every endless runner title offers that same experience, and because of that... there are other endless runner games to choose from that execute the blueprint much better. Of course, there's the VR angle the game latches itself to, but the same applies even for that: there are better endless runner and similar titles to choose from in virtual reality.

The funny part? Despite being a very simple endless runner and VR release... Verti-Go Home still managed to screw up. Crazy this is even possible, considering it's an auto-scroller where all I had to do the entire time was tilt my headset left or right to dodge objects. For some reason, during certain segments, the first-person view becomes off-centered; in several instances, this forced me to stare slightly to the left or right side of the path in spite of the fact I've been looking straight the entire time prior... This caused issues regarding dodging objects, because I couldn't tell how close or far away I was, which is irritating when trying to weave past multiple hazards in quick succession. Doesn't help that the hit detection is questionable on certain objects.

Unfortunately, Verti-Go Home's multiple concepts and gimmicks can't sustain much interest outside the first few playthroughs and, based on my own experience, people might even grow weary after the very first session. The "Funny-HaHa" visuals are only good for a quick chuckle, but not something that can persistently entertain across dozens and dozens of stages. Being a plain endless runner could have been its one saving grace, offering players a simple, generic experience, but the hassle with the odd camera fluctuations often kills any momentum gained. However, I will give Verti-Go Home one huge positive: not once did it give me motion sickness. Considering the implication of its namesake, everything in the game rotating like crazy within an unusual color palette, and brief instances of framerate drops, this could have been worse. Much worse.


pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (March 28, 2019)


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hastypixels posted March 28, 2019:

VR isn't exactly impressing me as having much substance so far... and I suppose that's difficult to achieve for many reasons. Visual flare only carries a game so far if its underlying mechanics and content don't have the substance or consistency...
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pickhut posted March 28, 2019:

That's pretty much my "goal" when I decided to get into VR gaming, to see if there's games out there with some genuine substance. From my experience so far, outside of the technical challenges of making a game in VR, I think a lot of it has more to do with the developer's creativity and how far they're willing to take it.

For example, my first VR review was basically for a compilation title, so the devs didn't really delve that deep into a particular concept. My next review was for Pixel Ripped, which has a really intriguing gimmick of "dual" gameplay, but it was squandered because the ideas weren't fleshed enough in its very, VERY brief four stages. The following review was for Statik, and of the four VR games I've reviewed so far, had the most substance to it with its thought-provoking puzzles; unfortunately, it was also another brief title... And as for VERTI-GO HOME, its biggest flaw was that the dev was just content with making a simple endless runner with odd visuals. Not really a stretch of the imagination, gameplay-wise.

I've yet to invest time in some of the more "highly-recommended" VR titles, either because I haven't bought them yet or they're costly purchases, go figure. Hopefully I'll run into a VR game that will impress me in both visuals (in a VR kinda way, if that makes sense) and gameplay.

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