Everyone knows I love a good puzzle (just look at how many puzzle games I have reviewed so far!) and I’m also known for loving my PSVR. So, along came Rangi – a puzzle game built in VR – sounds like a match made in heaven! From developer Funsoft and publisher Digigo, Rangi started life as a mobile VR game via the Samsung Gear VR – from there it was upgraded and ported over to the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive and finally, it came to us here on PSVR.
I’m always a little wary about games that originated as a mobile game as they can sometimes be lacking in features or too overly simple – I’m glad to say that with Rangi, I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed every minute I played.
Rangi has a simple story that is presented through imagery instead of words – which makes it more accessible to everyone. Long ago, there was ‘Music Giants’ who wandered the land freely, keeping the beat of the music alive. The music would guide the beating of peoples hearts, fill the children with joy, and even strengthen the warriors in time of war. However, one day, the Matata came along – these were ‘the interrupters’, their purpose in life is to steal the sound.
The Matata stole the ‘Chúkwú’ from the Giants and locked away all of their life forces within secret puzzles. Thus, the drums stopped beating, the music stopped playing, and everyone lost hope in ever hearing the magical beat ever again. But, do not despair, for the old men sing of a prophesied person who will unlock the mysteries of the Matata and return the Chúkwú back to the Music Giants and thus, restoring peace and balance to the world.
His name is Guruki, his time has come to venture out and save the world. Guruki is also the protagonist…
Story aside, Rangi is a fully immersed VR puzzle game born and bred – you will spend the majority of your time-solving puzzles, interacting with objects to alter perspectives and environments, and exploring the areas looking for hidden objects and passages. A lot of puzzle games that I’ve played on PSVR have been quite short, so the game will tend to either make the puzzles really hard in order to prolong gameplay, or it will be a bunch of easy puzzles which have you finished within an hour or two. Rangi sits comfortably within the two – it starts off nice and easy as you learn what you are doing and how the various mechanic’s works, then once you are about an hour in you will come to puzzles that stretch over numerous screens and areas which require you to keep a mental note of what you are actually doing.
Movement within the game is very simple. You use two Move controllers, yet only the right one has any purpose so far in my playthrough – you use your magical staff to not only move the objects around but also to teleport. However, you can’t teleport anywhere you want – you are limited to only being able to move to set teleport locations, which is good, bad and clever. The good part is that you know the point has been put there for a reason – so you have easy access to a puzzle and are in the perfect spot to operate it. The bad part is that there is no free-roam, so you don’t get to explore the beautiful environments. Finally, the clever part about it is that it places the teleport points in the direct line of danger – so in the path of a Matata or a saw blade – this way, you have to be fast and able to avoid the dangers as you can’t just go around them!
Also, the fact you are spinning on the spot and moving to set locations means no sickness and opens up the accessibility to everyone.
The basis behind the puzzles are fairly simple – you must solve a ‘puzzle’ in order to open a gateway. Initial puzzles are, using your ‘magic staff’, you grab and pull up or down slabs that have connectors on which will complete a circuit of a certain colour and open the door. Further on, you will be required to complete circuits to merge colours together before hitting the door, sometimes even rotating the whole room to allow the colours to connect to different circuits which go off in a different direction. Although the puzzles are all very similar, they don’t grow boring or monotonous as each level requires you to think more and more – plus it begins to add in enemies who are on a set path and must be avoided or environment obstacles which must be cleared.
The puzzles themselves are really clever – one such puzzle has you connecting up a load of connections in order to power a block to move so the auto-walker will get destroyed. Then you have to go back and re-wire almost all of the circuitry (using the same blocks you had previously) in order to now route the colour to the door instead. You will also encounter hazards, which I had a slight issue with…
In regards to the hazards, you have the giant Matata’s who are roaming around on set paths who you must avoid at all costs – if they bump into you then it’s game over. On some levels, you are against the timer to move as fast as you can to avoid being killed – one example is near the beginning you are forced to quickly teleport to new spots whilst adjusting platforms so you can see the next teleport point – all whilst a wall of spikes are closing in on you. I wasn’t a massive fan of these parts as the game is calm and relaxing for the most part and then instantly it’s a case of run or die! It does help change the pace of the game and keeps things interesting, it’s just a bit of a shock the first time it appears as it’s so different from the puzzle aspect.
Graphically the game looks great in VR on the PSVR. Everything is brightly coloured with simple textures and an amazing art style. I would say that this is probably one of the best games ‘first time VR users’ should own and play as you can’t move about – so no sickness, you solve puzzles with the Move Controller – so getting used to interacting in VR, and it’s so colourful and bold – everything is easy to see with no jump scares or cheap frights. And like I said previously, the whole game is pretty much played out visually – there are a few parts of text but they are mainly instructions or hints on what to do next.
Rangi is one of the best PSVR Puzzle games which fully immerse you in its world with all of the cultural aspects and an amazing soundtrack. The puzzles are quite ingenious and progressively get more involved and harder the further through the game you get. I wasn’t a massive fan of the ‘timed’ segments where you must move quickly, but they do help break the game up and offer variation between puzzles so you always have something new to look forward too. Highly recommended to people new to VR who want a game that won’t cause nausea, and to those who love puzzles.
- - Ingenious puzzles later on that really have you thinking
- - Movement style (teleport) means it should be playable by everyone
- - The soundtrack and sound effects fit perfectly
- - The VR aspect is awesome, you really get immersed
- - The story and whole concept is really interesting
- - The movement is good but you are limited to select teleport points
- - If you die then most of the time it's a case of doing the whole thing again
- - The fast paced segments are welcomed but a bit unexpected
- - Even though the puzzles are great and progressively changing in difficulty, most of them are based on the same mechanics - connecting up the circuits