Wayward Sky (PSVR)

wayward-sky-listing-thumb-01-ps4u-s-04oct16Touted as a Playstation exclusive, Wayward Sky is a fun little puzzle game that shows off the Playstation VR technology in a beginner friendly format. The game plays like a mix of a standard puzzle video game somehow mixed into a 3D dollhouse sized setting. It provides a fun puzzle experience that isn’t demanding but does show off the 3D aspects of the technology while staying away from experiences that might cause motion sickness. While the game is short, playable in just a few hours, it provides an excellent experience throughout. It holds up as one of the best “beginner” games for the PS VR release, an excellent fit for family-friendly gaming.

The game starts with a plane crash into a flying fortress, with the main character (Bess) sticking around while her father is kidnapped by a large robot. You must then control Bess and help her delve deeper into the fortress in order to rescue her father. Controlling Bess is as simple as pointing to where you want her to go. If there isn’t anything blocking her, she’ll walk over to the designated spot.
However, getting to the next target position is the heart of most of the game’s puzzles. Bess might need to get to get to the top of a room filled with bridges and elevators. By clicking on locations and switches, Bess can rotate bridges and engage elevators to get to the door. The fortress is also full of friendly worker robots, which initially need to be avoided (by trapping them in locations) but later can be commanded to help out (by hitting switches, moving blocks around, etc…)
Along the way, often at doors, Bess must interact with a control panel or operate machinery. Clicking on these locations brings up a user interface such as knobs, switches, or levers which need to be manipulated. The manipulations are extremely simple and serve mostly as a gee-whiz sort of fun VR activity. Levers and switches are mini puzzles, but as with most of the game, simple fiddling around will soon “solve” the puzzle.



Two aspects of the game stand out. The 3D VR technology and the story. Wayward Sky is a great introduction to VR technology. The perspective of the player compares to playing with a living dollhouse playset. I felt as if the entire level was laid out in front of me on a table. While everything was easily seen, I could lean around to see what was underneath or behind objects before me. Clicking on a location (by pointing my controller at a location and hitting the button), Bess would walk around the board as I watched as a sort of 6” high action figure. Since the game is primarily played from a fixed perspective (for each level), it is friendlier for gamers susceptible to motion sickness. In what is sure to be an issue in future reviews, I haven’t been able to replicate a good example of what I mean from screenshots.


wayward sky traversal

An example screenshot. Since it is true 3D, I would typically play the game by looking down from a bit higher perspective, as if I were standing at a table and looking down at a 5″ Bess running about. But, of course, you can stand up/sit down however you want to put the platforms at whatever eye level you prefer.


What shines through the most is the fun little story. Sure, you’re out to save your father, but all along the way you interact with cute little robots. They bumble around and mutter in cute little sing-song noises. When you start to order them around, they cheerfully say “OK” in their little robotic mumble. There are several main robots living in the fortress. Each has a distinct personality. For example, the kidnapper seems a bit grumpy but is given a stern talking-to (smacked about) by a much friendlier robot found later. In between groups of levels are cut-scenes that explain the background of the flying fortress. They are presented as a bit of a puppet show made out of gears and 2-D cutouts. (Think little wires sticking up flags and moving the creatures around.) The cutscenes were excellent. I was always sad when each scene finished. I’d pay money just to see another story told in the same manner!
Some of the early PS VR games cater more to the hardcore gamer, and some seem clearly rushed to market. Wayward Sky is neither. It is a great example of the PS VR technology. Its fun storyline, easy controls, and casual puzzles make it a must buy for anyone wanting to show off the system to their friends and family. The storyline is great, and since the game is primarily played in the 3rd person, people prone to motion sickness will be able to play without much trouble. The game’s only drawback is its short length. However, I would much rather play a few great hours of one game, rather than a longer, less impressive game.
Kid Factor:
Playstation recommends the VR system for kids 12+. Size-wise, the VR unit is able to fit the head of smaller kids, but it’s the parent’s call on whether to let younger kids play with the device. Otherwise, Wayward Sky has little to no issues to worry about. The puzzles and controls are quite easy, and the only “violence” is between robots which can be fixed back up again. Some people have made it into an excellent family game by using the television display that shows what the VR person is seeing. In that way, family hanging out on the couch can give advice to the VR player on how to solve a given puzzle.

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