For the purpose of transparency, this review was completed using a review code provided by Tarsier Studios. The use of a review code does not affect my judgement of this product.
I am not sure where to start with this review, as I am not sure what I have just experienced while playing Statik, but, not in bad way. It is clear the team at Tarsier Studio’s have put a lot of time, work and commitment into Statik – so why do I feel this way?
Where Statik is a very much a puzzle game in essence of the gameplay, a very interesting aspect of Statik is trying to puzzle together the very vague story on what is actually happening and why it is happening. This is all down to the very intriguingly odd companion you have in the game by the name of Dr. Ingen. What is most interesting is how his character develops through the levels – he will seem to go from a someone overlooking you characters progression, to quite a broken tragic figure. This is all through his talking while solving the puzzles and between puzzles – with the one sticking in my mind being when he talks about sexy dream involving a dog and a chicken. I really think different people will take his ramblings and piece it together differently – which for me as truly unique feature.
As mentioned above Statik is very much a puzzle game in the gameplay elements. In the game there is eight puzzles, all that vary in difficulty but follow the same premise. The game places a box over your hands, and you have look around the box to check what puzzles need solving in order to complete that box. Once you have figured out what button on your controller does what on the box, then comes the hard part – solving the puzzle. It may be trail and error, they may be clues placed around the room, you may be prompted by something and what to use. But, where this may sound easy the games strength is how much they vary not just in difficulty, but what you have to do, because each puzzle is 100% unique.
Traiser Studios also break up the puzzles with two other tasks, one is still a puzzles but in a different way and the other is a Rorschach-like tests. For the Rorschach-like tests there is no real wrong or right answers, even if Dr. Ingen’s comments make you feel like there is, either way he will seem to give indifferent opinions. The other element is after the puzzles and the tests, you are sent to what I see is a sort of water tank, and as I don’t want to ruin it for people but it involves a different style/sort of puzzle – but you have to work this out before you can move onto the eighth box puzzle.
One thing I would say about Statik is the game is very much fun, but, also can offer some frustration when figuring out the puzzles. This is where the little breaks of the tests will seem very welcoming, as it gives you chance to relax your brain and your arms from moving the box around erratically in frustration.
The visual style used in Statik is very pleasing on the eye, and they have given it a very clean and sharp look – which really adds to the immersion of it happening in a sterile environment. Where the visuals are simple in style it really works for Statik, a good example of a game where a simple look wasused but it suited the game is Portal – and this reminds me very much of that. If it was anything more it would have ruined the feel of the game, as the environment for what you were experiencing was perfect.
Control wise there was really only one way the Statik would work and that was with the Dualshock 4 controller, and for this game it works so perfectly – I would even say it offers the best movement tracking for the Dualshock than any other title available. So why would it only work with the Dualshock? Firstly for me the feel of the game, you are meant to have your hands inside of this box working it from the inside – so having your hands in front of you holding the controller really matches the immersion of VR gaming. Secondly every button of the control is used (minus the touchpad, share and options) to control/move a part on the box, so the amount of buttons needed this is essential.
Statik took me around four hours to solve all the puzzles, but as with any puzzle game if you can figure them out easier, than the experience may be shorter for some players. But, one lovely addition from Trasier Studios is the inclusion of second player multiplayer mode (reminiscent of Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes) that is controlled via the Playstation App – so this can add some extra fun to the game if played with friends.
After playing the first few puzzles in Statik, it is instantly noticeable that this game was made for VR and it is the only way it will work – which is a nice feeling when other games don’t feel that way and in some cases can be played either way.
If you have any questions about the review, or want to let me know what you think – feel free to tweet me @TattasticGamer