Wilson's Heart - PC / VR Review

I have often said that the primary advantage to virtual reality is immersion - and as a result of this, horror games are probably the most natural fit with the hardware. Wilson's Heart is a really well made game that reminds me of those classic, campy horror movies while making fantastic use of the Oculus Touch controls and keeping me on edge throughout.

In a world filled with titles that feel more like glorified tech demos than proper games, the half dozen or so hours that Wilson's Heart provides combined with its outstanding overall presentation makes it one of the more compelling games on the platform to date. While the development team labels this a psychological thriller, there were enough startles in here to satisfy most horror fans.

First and foremost - the presentation. We have a list of really good voice actors here, and their skills shine through when delivering their lines. This effectively breathes dramatic life into the characters who make or break a narrative heavy title such as this. You take on the role of Robert Wilson, and while I do not want to delve into spoiler territory, the premise is made clear right in the beginning. Robert wakes up in an old hospital from the 40's to discover that his heart has been replaced by a strange device. With actors such as Rosario Dawson and Alfred Molina behind these characters, what easily could have been caricatures wind up fascinating cohabitants in this adventure. Add to it a fantastic musical score, and the audio impresses from start to finish.

It helps that the visuals are just oozing with style as well, with carefully shaded black and white with plenty of gray that really help to give this a classic horror game vibe. Hospitals are a great backdrop for horror games, because while they are fundamentally places that help to save lives, a lot of bad things can happen in them as well. As it becomes clear that this hospital is haunted, the expressive character faces and hospital hallways succeed in keeping tensions high throughout.

Now, this is an Oculus Touch exclusive, which is used to the fullest degree. Progress is usually gated behind some sort of puzzle, and being able to reach out and pick up an item and manipulate it with the Touch controls is actually handled incredibly well. Not only do you turn boxes over or open padlocks with keys, but you actually can fight back too. Our old man can still throw punches with the best of them, and sees some combat upgrades over time as well. However, while the puzzles offer enough variety to stay interesting well into the adventure, combat feels a good deal more repetitive by the end of the game, even with the handful of upgrades you can come across along the way.

The biggest issues I had were that the controls all did what you would expect them to in the VR world - when they work. Admittedly, that is most of the time, but there were moments when the controls could be juuuuust a bit fickle. Still, the ability to flip through a newspaper or pick something up and tip it over in realistic fashion makes up for this. Also, the movement system is a bit of a mixed bag. I appreciate that the jump-to locomotion keeps the game comfortable for those who are prone to VR sickness, and actual free form exploration might not have added much to the experience, but the on-rails nature of it all can sometimes pull you out of what is otherwise an incredibly immersive experience.

Wilson's Heart does a great job of building and maintaining tension without leaning too heavily on jump scares. The presentation is fantastic and except for the somewhat jumpy locomotion and occasionally fickle motion control, the story, environments and cast of characters sucked me in for about seven hours of play. It is probably worth noting that there is little to no replay value to be had here, but that first pass makes for an incredibly memorable gaming experience.

Game Information

PC - Oculus
Twisted Pixel Games
Oculus Studios
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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