Every year we get to see hundreds, if not thousands, of new games being released across all platforms. So it only makes sense that it’s hard to stand out from the rest of them. You’d either have to be a AAA game, a console exclusive, or belong to a popular franchise altogether.
But what does a game that doesn’t check any of the mentioned does, do to stand out from the rest? Well, being original and innovative is one great way to do it, and World of Mazes does a pretty good job at both of these.
However, if you just look at some quick gameplay videos or trailers (check here and here) without paying much attention you’d think it’s mostly a puzzle-solving VR game. But experiencing the game is something very different than just solving puzzles. And it does so in one of the best weapons any small developer can use to stand out: Quality narrative.
World of Mazes is a VR game, so it shouldn’t be all that hard to make it immersive, right? Well, it’s not really that simple. Sure, VR has a clear advantage in ways to make a game feel immersive but it’s not a free pass. Not every game in VR feels and plays in an immersive way, nor do their stories reflect said immersion either.
But how does a game create an immersive environment while remaining a fantasy title? Well to do so you have to get the player really involved in the process of making meaningful decisions.
A moral game?
World of Mazes will have you making different decisions to solve the puzzles and continue progressing through the story. However, unlike in most games, “defeating enemies” and fighting them is not really an option. This sends you to a more realistic experience, even though you are on a different planet in a different world.
At RiseAngle, the developer and publisher of the game series, they aim at making the player a better person, even though this usually doesn’t end well in gaming. The founder of the company, Kaveh Vahdat, states this as creating virtuous games. Most games that try to be moral and get all ethical end up feeling like you are being lectured and even punished. In World of Mazes that’s not the case, as the situations are more tangible and they are much more rewarding than in most “moral” games. Killing an enemy is not really a normal response a human has when living in a society, so in this game, it isn’t normal either.
A great atmosphere
Of course, the narrative goes beyond what’s the plot in the game. The atmosphere itself of the game greatly affects the narrative too. The worldbuilding sets a tone that will have you eager to explore, but at the same time wary of what might be hiding behind you. The art here is incredible, with great designs, excellent world-building, and even the character design is top quality.
Going through all the puzzles will have you learning how to think outside the box, but empathy is also a great deal here. Overall the game is a pretty original title that’s just excellent for fans of the puzzle genre. They present you with an intriguing story, new and original mechanics, great characters, and an incredible fantasy world that keeps expanding. Since the game is an episodic release, the adventure will keep on growing, but the world and environment keep changing.
The way it really puts you inside the gaming by having you learn, understand the rules of the world, make meaningful decisions, and even by doing this, it makes the player feel as if they are themselves inside the World of Mazes, and that’s also when the VR part comes in pretty handy. When a story has you involved all around, keeps you interested, makes you think, and makes decisions, the last step would be to actually put you inside the fantasy world. And thanks to modern VR, this is easier than ever.
Not only is it a great example of the narrative possibilities in VR games, but also it sets a great concept that could be implemented more in gaming generally. The devs at RiseAngle are aiming to make the world a better place, one game at a time.