FORM - PC / VR Review

FORM is a really interesting title, because at a glance, it looks like the sort of game that has frequently frustrated me when it comes to virtual reality. It is short, it is a relatively on-rails and it relies heavily on puzzles and little else to advance the narrative. And yet, there is something undeniably fascinating about how FORM comes together, making it one of the more memorable VR titles I have played to date.

Taking on the role of a scientist named Dr. Devin Eli, you are tasked with researching a strange obelisk. The remote setting in Alaska has potential enough to make FORM pretty atmospheric, but instead you find yourself pulled out of that setting and thrust into a sort of strange alternate universe. The story then plays with themes involving the human mind and alternate realities as each puzzle you encounter serves as another step in Dr. Eli's adventure of discovery.

One of the areas where FORM really shines is in its puzzles. Too often VR relies on puzzles as a mechanic that almost feels tacked on. Either they don't feel like an organic part of the environment or the puzzles themselves are dull or hard to control. It is a major credit to the devs at Charm Games that here the puzzles offer a real sense of satisfaction upon completion (though admittedly they are not terribly hard - but they are creative in design for the most part) and control wonderfully. There is no grating slog of a tutorial here, because they are intuitive in design. Pull the trigger and you grip the item, and there is an emphasis on space here, which adds to the immersion in a way that many similarly structured games have yet to nail.

One could argue that FORM's biggest flaw is that the experience is relatively on rails. Instead of walking around some lush environment, soaking in the details via your virtual reality headset, completion of a puzzle whisks you away to the next puzzle. As a result, the puzzles are a little more direct. There is no obtuse item or contextual clue you may have overlooked earlier - everything you need to solve your puzzle is right there with you to manipulate. This in turn does also cut down on the overall game time. I fall somewhere in the middle here, because I am never really a fan of padding gameplay time with senseless walking and wandering. However, when a game like this is clicking with me, I'd like to see the experience last a little bit longer. I probably beat it in about an hour's time, and realistically you want to see a game like this run at least a few hours. For some people this run time will be a deal killer, but others understand that most VR games just are not built for length at this time.

As for the overall presentation, FORM is incredibly sharp. Music and sound effects are subtle and compliment what is happening without ever really getting in the way. This is not the most memorable of soundtracks, but I have to say I enjoyed it nonetheless. Visually I loved FORM's use of contrasting lights and darkness. There were several times where I just looked around, soaking in the  dream-like environments instead of working on the puzzles. The pacing of the game is a casual one, so feel free to stop and just allow yourself to appreciate how the developers have visualized these environments. Additionally, those who are sensitive to VR sickness will appreciate the warp-to locomotion. No discomfort to be found here as the game takes you from one environment to the next.

FORM tickled my mind with its puzzles and my imagination with its dreamscape like environments. The team has a fantastic grasp on how to make a good game, there is no doubt about that. However, the incredibly short play time is a serious concern that takes away from what is otherwise a fantastic VR Experience.

Game Information

PC - Oculus Rift
Charm Games
Charm Games
Single Player
Other Platform(s):

Provided by Publisher

Article by Nick


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