There is one VR game I’ve played that has captivated me since the second I heard about it, “Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes”. The bomb defusing game has been a hit on every modern VR platform and sees two people actually share in a VR experience. The basic concept is simple, one person in VR can see a bomb, at least one person out of VR has a manual and working together you have to defuse the bomb before it explodes.
It’s a game of communication, logic and comprehension, in short, it’s a thinking person game and I absolutely love it. Warning, just like Pictionary this game has the potential to cause marital disharmony, you’ve been warned.
The VR Side
Inside the VR headset, you’re presented with a suitcase size and shaped boom box. The bomb has space for 12 “modules”, each requiring various defusing requirements and complexities. It also has various other “greebles” including serial numbers, batteries, and various indicators that can change the steps required.
Your job as the VR player is to accurately describe what you’re seeing and relay that to your partner/s. You’ll need to both anticipate what information they will need next, through learning the mechanics of each panel type and be able to follow their instructions for disabling each panel.
Using the Daydream controller interacting with the bomb is simple. The game takes advantage of positional tracking clicking and swiping on the touchpad, once you’re used to it you can navigate around the bomb with easy. From a motion sickness perspective because you’re not moving through space I found I got little to no effects even after long periods playing, and I’m susceptible to VR sickness. This coupled with a turn about turn play style nausea should not come a knocking while playing.
The Manual Side
This is actually my preferred role in the game, this is where the real thinking happens. As the bomb expert, you have to identify the ‘puzzle’ to defuse each panel and then walk the VR player through a set of comprehension based assessments of that panel. Once you’ve decided the panel, you then have to walk then through the deactivation, it can be as simple as cut the 3rd wire and the complexity grows, a lot.
You also need to be able to talk the VR player through giving you the right information, depending on your play partner this can be a little frustrating. To be good with the manual, you need both a logical mind and good comprehension skills, in fact, I think that this game could well be a great tool for teaching both of those skills.
Overall this is the best VR experience I have had, bar none. Even though the graphics may be low res, the complexity of the game may not look to be all that exciting the gameplay is nothing short of captivating and exciting. Now, that’s with a good partner, play with a drongo and you’ll spend half your time in VR listen to someone re-read the same basic instructions or half your time in the manual with someone shouting I don’t see any little lights.
The only problem with the game is it needs two people, and if you don’t have a good play partner available you’re going to be out of luck. If I had more time I’d seriously consider programming a Google Home Action to play with me.
If you’ve got a Daydream-certified phone and a Daydream View headset then I can’t recommend this game highly enough. At $12.99 AUD some may consider it too expensive but this has more to do with our perceptions of what mobile apps should cost and less to do with the value of a great game like this.