‘Gnomes & Goblins’ – VR Review

Gnomes & Goblins is one of those products that seems like it was designed to introduce people to the potential wonder of virtual reality games. Available on SteamVR and Viveport Infinity, I enjoyed my time in this fantastical experience. We play as a human exploring a magical forest of strange creatures and get to see their tiny villages and strange cultures as we walk through the paths presented by the game’s developer, Wevr.

It’s all really enchanting in a way I feel like some of my older family members would appreciate, as it was calm and scenic with so many small details put into the world. My favorite bit was from the demo when we rode a small boat down a river and saw all the goblins sitting on rocks or tree branches just hanging out fishing for the day.

Gnomes and Goblins is very simple to pick up and experience – it could easily serve as a tutorial for VR for most people, as the game is very clear about what buttons to push and when to move around and such things. I will say that the game didn’t run great on my older computer; and to make things worse, the interface didn’t make finding the graphics settings easy. So, of course, my time in the forest was filled with very choppy performance, which was a heckuva disappointment considering how much I adored the work put into creating all the fine details to make the experience magical. I should add that I had better luck playing the demo that was part of the Venice VR Expanded Festival I covered a few months ago, so I’m not really sure what happened since then.

I will say the game doesn’t seem to have a lot of staying power. Once a person has finished the story, they are basically done with the experience, as there isn’t a lot of game to this for replayability. But as I said above, if one is planning on using Gnomes & Goblins to introduce brand new people to VR, they would likely get a lot of value from that. Personally, I played this through my Viveport Infinity subscription though it’s also available on Steam for purchase. While the game was on the basic side of things in terms of gameplay, I think most newcomers to VR would be thrilled to experience the magic of the forest of Gnomes & Goblins, assuming their computers can run it decently enough.

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