The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game
Developer: Top Right Corner
Publisher: TRC DMI
Website: The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game
Genre(s): Exploration, Puzzle, Strategy
Platform: Meta Quest 2
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 13/04/22
A code was provided for review purposes
A Haunted Theater
In The Atlas Mystery, you are now the newly hired floor manager of The Atlas Theater. Within its halls covered in 1940s style art deco survives a mystery of the previous owner which you must uncover. The game starts you out in the backroom and through subsequent escape room-style puzzles to unlock more of the theater. It is your job to uncover the mystery of the theater and lift the spirit looming over the darkened halls of Hollywood.
Obtuse Puzzle Solving
Let the record show that puzzle games, whether in VR, board games, or 2D games are my jam. If there’s a genre of games that I like most it is the escape room-style VR games like The Room VR and The Wanderer. There is just something about picking up objects and using them to manipulate space or to figure out a puzzle that is more satisfying in VR. The Atlas Mystery tries to do just that and with most of the puzzles succeeds. Similarly to the aforementioned VR escape-room titles, Atlas uses a lot of the background to give clues into solving its most difficult puzzles. While I like feeling observant in my puzzle-solving, I felt as though more of the puzzles were obtuse and I’ll admit I had to look up hints more times than I care to admit.
A Story to Keep You Going
While the puzzle-solving left a little to be desired, there were elements of Atlas‘ story that kept me hooked. In just a few short sittings I found myself picking up clues and solving the puzzles trying to get more and more of the riveting story solved. The Atlas Mystery was one that all the way to the end kept me gripped in its narrative. As you play through the game there were small vignettes of the past and the reveal of the murderer that pulled me in. If there is one strong area Atlas has, it is in its storytelling.
Pieces to Place
VR puzzle games come in varying degrees of difficulty and interactivity. Many of the ones I have played recently seem to use a lot of real-world items in the virtual world in unique ways. (See Wanderer or Ghost Giant for reference). With real-world items comes a level of familiarity from newspaper articles that slowly reveal the story bits, to items like a video game, reels, a flashlight, gears and cranks, and a snack machine. The tactile feeling of all these items and how they come together to form solutions to the puzzle make for a unique level of gameplay.
An Eerie Soundscape
The Atlas Mystery takes you through a variety of rooms and corridors in a classy old-fashioned theater. Along with the art style that puts you right there in the 40s-50s style venue, the sounds of Atlas are also incredible. There were times when I felt like the spirit of the deceased was following me, almost hauntingly. While The Atlas Mystery isn’t a scary game, there were moments where I expected to be jump scared throughout.
The Atlas Mystery isn’t the best escape room-style game in virtual reality but it is far from the worst. There were times that I was stumped, but overall the story narrative and the desire to finish out the mystery and see its conclusion kept me plugging along. The game isn’t too terribly long and will only take three to four hours for most people to complete unless you get stuck like me. While there are better puzzle games in VR, this one still has a great story to see through the end and some unique twists on puzzles.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3 out of 5
You can buy The Atlas Mystery for Meta Quest 2 here.
You can read our VR game reviews over at vrgamecritic.
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