What’s this? A game based on a Miley Cyrus song? No, it’s Crytek’s attempt to bring free-climbing to VR and it’s a breath of fresh mountain air.
Now it’s made its way on to the wireless 360 degree Oculus Quest and pushes the immersion levels even further in doing so, even if it does lose a little graphical finesse in the process.
Beginning with a small starter mountain where you learn the ropes (literally in some cases) on how to stay attached to the mountain without taking a huge plunge towards the ground, the game soon ramps the difficulty up as you traverse some pretty hairy heights.
Your stamina is shown by your grip, with some great animations that help you understand just how much chance you’ve got before plunging down into the space below your feet. Reaching out a long way, dragging your body across and not chalking up your hands all lead to a loss in stamina, so you’ll need to consider all of these on longer climbs. Thankfully, there are savepoints located along the route that give you a quick breather before your journey continues.
The Quest version, when placed side by side with the Rift S one, does lack some of the more fancy graphical elements such as moving waterfalls, some of the aerial displays and creatures (both on the rocks and in the air) and while the rocks and everything directly in front of you still looks great there’s obviously some cut backs in the scenery as you look down and everything is just that little bit more blurry and static. If you haven’t played the Rift version, though, it’s still impressive and the 360 degree immersion tends to make up for the lesser detail.
The only thing that mars the experience a little is that you’re given far too much power in terms of being able to pull off impressive climbs. From jumping across falling trees to reaching virtually impossible crevasses just by stretching your whole body and pulling up with one hand, it feels a little too much like you’ve been give super soldier serum. You can see why the developers did this, though, as it would probably be far too hard to reproduce the complete experience of real free-climbing without it feeling a little dry.
Timing is the key, though, and you’ll be competing against your own times and those of others who’ve played via the online leaderboard. It also entices you with achievements and rewards in the form of wrist wear and gloves, which may be cosmetic but since you spend most of the game looking at your hands, they feels worth aiming for.
The climb is a great title for quest that does show some of its limitations but, at the same time, manages to feel more immersive due to the wireless and free nature of the headset. It’s also cross-buy, so if you own it on Rift already you’ll find it sitting in your library on Quest.