18 Floors is a valiant attempt to by developer Aoga Tech to bring the popular escape room puzzle games to PlayStation VR. Published by Winking Entertainment 18 Floors is a wonderful mix of Chinese horror and western puzzler.
Based on the Chinese philosophical concept of 18 levels of hell. 18 Floors perfectly balance creeping horror, taxing puzzles and atmospheric locations.
The “story” in 18 Floors is loose, to say the least. In fact, after 4 hours of playing, I wouldn’t actually know the story if I hadn’t had read it on the PSN store whilst fact-checking a few things.
According to the PSN store, the story is as follows:
With her home planet destroyed 1000 years ago, Andrea, Queen of Naoh Star has been living hidden amongst humans, struggling to keep her race from eradication. When she learns of humanity’s plan of genocide for her people, Queen Andrea decides to strike back at humanity by altering history itself. Players will follow Andrea as she travels to the secret time-bending black hole “18 Floors,” discovering her true identity and uncovering a galactic conspiracy.
Apart from one letter, I discovered after solving a puzzle I would have no idea this story even existed. The story may become more involved as you progress through the further levels (more on that later) but even though it seems as this narrative maybe “bolted on” it doesn’t in anyway impact on the game in any negative way.
18 Floors gameplay essentially relies on setting, puzzles and immersion to deliver its gameplay and apart from a few issues with the Move controls not tracking correctly Aoga Tech has done an amazing job in blending these three games mechanics together and produce not only a great game but a wonderful experience.
Graphically the game is brilliant and twinned with PSVR you really do feel as if you are in the room, so much so that at one point I wobbled and reached out in panic when I felt I was gonna fall off a chair I was stood on in the second level.
The approach used for the in-game music is sublime. A majority of the time the music is creepy and barely noticeable so that whilst you are trying to figure out puzzles the music is just gently gnawing at the corner of your senses until it slowly builds up to an ominous tension building piece that gently bores into your brain and sets your nerves on edge whilst you are afraid of what is about to come next.
18 Floors is a masterpiece of puzzles and immersion and is one of the best PSVR games I have played. It has the perfect balance of gameplay, difficulty and immersion that really shines a light on what the future of VR maybe.
Priced at just £11.99 on the PlayStation store I thought this was an absolute bargain of a game until after completing the second floor I was greeted with a “to be continued” screen. Whilst the game doesn’t promise 18 levels it definitely seems to imply that. It was only after reading the PSN description that it is made clear that only 2 floors are available with this first episode.
With this in mind, £11.99 for around 3-4 hours, of game time (depending on how quickly you solve the puzzles) is still great value for money. Also once you have completed the two floors it is a great game to introduce friends to.
On one playthrough of the game, we had friends round for a few drinks and my living room became a sort of Crystal Maze episode with people taking it in turns to wear the headset and control the game with others debating and deducing the puzzles.
Personally, I really hope 18 floors sells well and we get to see more floors added in the very near future as this is a great game for solo VR play and is great fun for parties too.
Overall Score – 8/10