With Doctor Who finally coming back to our screens this week, on Halloween night no less, it’s fitting to see a game that tries to capture the look and feel of the show while providing an intriguing set of puzzles to complete.
Jodie Whittaker reprises her turn as The Doctor here in what is actually a slightly expanded and reworked version of the virtual reality game The Edge of Time, which I originally played on Oculus Quest. By slightly expanded, what I mean is that several areas have been made bigger, particularly one set in Totters’ Yard, and there’s a new Cyberman story added on. So, if you’ve played the VR version you’ll know what to expect here, there might not be enough content added to justify another purchase but it’s nice to be able to play it on a screen rather than a headset.
For any Doctor Who fans who love the current series (or those who don’t but like the older series and would like to see what Jodie can do with similar material) and who haven’t played the VR game, this is certainly worth playing. It’s worth noting that the 10th Doctor makes an appearance or two but don’t expect a huge cameo from David Tennent here. He’s in it briefly, though it’s well used and makes sense. The game starts in a laundromat and immediately throughs odd-Doctor Who shaped sci-fi at you from the start. It gives the game a sense of urgency that it manages to continue through most but not all of its levels. It also introduces the standard puzzle-solving elements early on with a task to find a certain object that turns out to be a little more tricky than just finding it laying around.
While you play a companion of sorts, the Sally Sparrow kind that doesn’t actually meet the Doctor in person but communicates with her in order to solve problems, the actual companion role of helping to explain the plot and move the narrative on is played by Emer, not a person but an artificial intelligence. It’s a nice touch that actually works better than some of the more classic elements that somehow feel shoehorned in at times.
As with any good Doctor Who story there is running, down corridors at times, and plenty of non-violent confrontations with the Doctor’s enemies, namely Daleks, Weeping Angels and Cybermen. Yes, it’s true, there’s no fighting as such, it just doesn’t fit the feel of the show, so it’s too be expected, but Maze Theory have done a good job of proving alternate solutions more in-line with the programme. The game splits the story into sections, each feeling more like a TV episode on their own but all connected (seemingly similar to what this new series will try to provide) and each featuring a different enemy.
Graphically, there are plenty of elements that show this was originally developed as a VR game, the viewpoint and the odd pieces of clipping do remind you of this every so often, as do the puzzles with their rather tactile controls. But it also works well on a flat screen when they bring the big guns out, such as the now expanded Weeping Angel section that feels just as terrifying in places as it was on TV.
And, yes, there are still bugs left over from the original version, again in the Weeping Angels section I was stuck for some time until I realised the game wouldn’t let me finish it unless I restarted. It’s also pretty short overall, even with the extra content, though the price does, at least, reflect this.
As a Doctor Who experience, though, The Edge of Reality is an excellent take on the TV Show and well worth experiencing for fans. It’s not a perfect game, puzzles and action sections can feel a little simplistic in places, possibly hampered by the original VR format, but the stories are interesting and the fan service is pretty strong here.