The incredible thing about virtual reality is its ability to summon you into unique worlds to experience things from a new perspective. Some games place you in familiar territory to allow you to live out experiences that replicate real life, and some go the opposite way. Tentacular sits firmly in the latter of these as you control a ginormous tentacled creature in a wonderful, creative adventure.
It’s your 16th birthday and as you peer down from up high, your sister breaks the news to you. You are adopted. You are not even human. How could she keep this secret from you? After you digest this shocking news, it’s time to become an accepted part of society. In order to do so, you must help the islanders with their problems and gradually learn about your origins on the way. It’s a simple story that is presented in a charming and whimsical manner that will suck you in.
What follows are a number of physics-based puzzles that are simple but fantastic. Tasks vary as you will need to destroy, build and fix things to solve the issues that the townfolk have. At times you may need to save the community from a catastrophe and then you may need to slingshot barrels to knock down obstacles. Tasks develop throughout and introduce new elements such as magnets and explosives that let you experiment with the mechanics. As you have tentacles, everything is a little more awkward to grab which adds a hilarious aspect to the game. Trying to carefully stack crates on top of each other or precisely place magnets to erect elaborate contraptions is frustratingly fun.
There’s a lovely tactile philosophy that imbues Tentacular. You can pick up and toy with most things and the game encourages you to do so. To move into segments, a little lever appears and to listen to conversations you can flip the roof of houses. Most interactions require a prod or a poke which is extremely satisfying. This small design aspect keeps you in the world and is much more immersive than the inclusion of a pointer which is often seen in VR games.
Objectives are clear so you will understand what you need to do and are given the freedom to tackle this however you want. The difficulty slowly builds and offers enough challenge to give the eureka moment but never gets infuriatingly difficult. As well as the option to reset the area, you can also ask for help. A person will give you a clue that will guide you to the solution. While you may never even use the option, it’s a great tool that will support those who may struggle and therefore enhance engagement.
In addition to the series of levels that conclude small story arcs, there are also side missions that offer interesting missions that can be quite challenging. These are accessible through the main town area which acts as a hub between missions. As well as this, you can also access the Playroom which allows you to further experiment with items and mechanics. I had an absolute blast building a complex scaffold with numerous household items and iron girders to then simply stand back and watch it be blown into smithereens. While there is no objective in this mode, it’s a thrill to have the freedom to do what you like.
While the game isn’t a visual showcase, there’s a lovely layer of polish that smothers Tentacular. As you’re a Kaiju-type monster, everything around you is a lot smaller. The depth is perfectly captured and enhances the immersion. The world is a wash with vivid colors and cute characters that help to communicate the tone of the game. It never takes itself seriously and due to this, you want to meander in the world to uncover all its secrets and interact with each asset.
Tentacular is a fantastic VR puzzler that perfectly transports you to a unique world. You are able to play with all the aspects of the environment which adds a lovely tactile element. It also rewards and encourages experimentation which adds to the immersion and enjoyment of the game. While it is a little silly with some purposefully awkward controls, it maintains a joyous atmosphere that will keep you smiling throughout.
***PSVR 2 code provided by the publisher for review***
- Lovely Tactile Philosophy
- Encourages Experimentation
- Wonderful Atmosphere
- Some Awkward Tasks
- Polished But Basic Visuals
- Small Play Area