Guildford Castle VR

Guildford Castle VR (Steam) is a delightful journey into both a modern-day museum and its gardens, as well a detailed  glimpse into its medieval castle counterpart. Guildford Castle is one of the most expansive and informative VR educational experiences of 2022, featuring narrated vignettes across the castle grounds, as well as meticulously detailed set pieces all throughout the experience. These details vary from fully legible written labels around the modern-day museum, to the gallows seen in the distance from the tower parapets.

Guildford Castle VR really caught my attention by the way it told the story of the castle. On pressing the “Tour Guide” buttons scattered around the museum, a narrator would start speaking about the histories and they would do things like show us how the castle changed over time. During these presentations, walls would grow and expand, before going back to normal by the time they were done speaking. I find this to be a cool compromise for storytelling in the world of VR museums! This is an excellent way to gently show your audience what you’re talking about, in real time, without hijacking their viewpoint and experience in the process.

Guildford Castle VR gets a A+ in my book for style and substance. It really is an excellent museum, that I hope to see more of the style. The experience ran mostly smoothly on my old PC, but it had a ton of settings I was able to adjust to make it run perfectly.

I’m really looking forward to seeing more from developer, Historic VR! I’ll be happy to pay for an experience as smooth and enjoyable as Guildford Castle VR.

Follow along for more VR reviews on my Steam Curator page, IndieSamAdonis Reviews.

‘Kusunda’ VR Short Film Review

Kusunda is an excellent VR film from NowHere that asks some important questions about family, legacy and the impermanence of culture itself. We meet Lil Bahadur, former member of the Kusunda people, and learn what he and his granddaughter are doing to memorialize their language before it is forgotten.

Kusunda is a VR cinematic documentary about a tribe of hunter-gatherers, the language they spoke, and what their legacy will be in today’s world. The experience has a really interesting extra feature where it asks you to try to pronounce a certain few words or phrases of the Kusunda people at specific times during the story. Players can opt out of this system, though I do not recommend doing so. I found myself particularly more engaged in listening to the language and its pronunciation, knowing that I would be asked to attempt to speak it.

Kusunda also features some of the best visual storytelling I have seen in a documentary in this style: from the swooping 3d footage of Nepal’s hills and valleys, to a storybook-like retelling of the protagonist’s anecdotes in animated fashion. I found myself emotionally moved by the story of Lil Bahadur and his granddaughter – especially by the little twist at the end of the Kusunda VR experience. I can easily recommend this to any who enjoy these sorts of VR films, particularly those who might appreciate the novelty introduced here by the voice recording mechanic.

I experienced Kusunda on Viveport Infinity on an Oculus Quest 2 through Virtual Desktop, in the seated position. Everything worked smoothly with no technical issues or VR instability.

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