Review: ‘Vacation Simulator’ (PSVR)

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(Photo credit to Owlchemy Labs)

Platform: Steam VR, Oculus, Playstation VR
Release Date: April 9th, 2019 (PC), June 18th, 2019 (PS4)
Genre: Simulation
Developer: Owlchemy Labs
Publisher: Owlchemy Labs

 

Do you ever feel like you need to take a break? Can you not afford to miss a day of work? Maybe you do not have the money to get any further than you nearest Burger King. If that is the case, and you have a PlayStation VR, Owlchemy Labs is giving us a chance to run free from the world of “jobbing” and take a day off. Let’s take a look!

So, Vacation Simulator takes place in the same world as Job Simulator. You are also going to find it quite similar. While some may scoff at the notion, I find VR to be better with sequels. The dev can look at what it has done and improve on it. Besides that, VR being so experimental I like being familiar with what I am playing.

(Photo credit to Owlchemy Labs)

In Vacation Simulator it is finally time for the bots to take a break, but that does not mean the work is over. Efficiency Bot needs to check on some metrics and make sure we are vacationing efficiently. And from this moment, Vacation Bot takes us to three special places. We have the opportunity to Vacation at the beach, in the forest, or on a mountain. In order for Efficiency Bot to follow our progress, we put on a tracker to collect “memory data” of our activity.

One of the ways Vacation Simulator differs from Job Simulator is a hub which leads into the separate “vacations”. The original game had you moving to different jobs, all in which you were stationary. In Vacation Simulator you can maneuver from your home to each location, and some activities even involve the player bringing an item from say the forest to the beach. The freedom to move around in the zones and move to separate areas as you will makes it feel like a huge VR game.

The vacation fun you participate in is just that, fun. You will have a blast grilling up and making random foods in the different climates. And not only that, there is sand castle making, photo taking, puzzle solving and much more! I enjoyed the many things you get to do in the simulation. There are several activities that are repeated, but they all flow well. If you take a few moments to earn some memories, there is a bigger area in each vacation to unlock as well.

(Photo credit to Owlchemy Labs)

My favorite activity has to be making food for the bots. Some stuff is regular, like the burger you make for one at the start. But it just gets progressively sillier. One robot wanted whatever he could get of eight different ingredients between two buns. Another wanted an ice cream, but it was not present in the beach world. So after looking around for a moment, I trekked to the mountain vacation area and found it at a vending machine. Having to go to different places to finish quests in your current zone is a step up in design, so major kudos to Owlchemy Labs.

There is a little story going on in the background between Efficiency Bot and Vacation Bot about the human and how the metrics are going. It is not much, but it is a fun little silly byproduct of what you are doing. This game is not built to take you on an Oscar winning tale, so the mini thoughtful narrative you embark on is enjoyable.

I love how smooth the game runs on PlayStation VR. I do not have experience with computer VR systems, but if PSVR can handle it well, those can. The frames did not show any slowdown or lag which is an important quality. As for the tracking, it did rather well. It always comes down to the blind spots, and given the ability to travel, there are plenty. Turning to go back to another area can be awkward when using the Move controllers. The same happens when moving a little too far out of the play area. I had an issue with picking up things I have dropped, but there is a mechanic that usually works where the item pops up when reaching for it.

(Photo credit to Owlchemy Labs)

The graphics are wonderful and cartoony. The summer beach, the green of the forest, and the mounds of snow are crafted with care and made to feel homey. I guess that is how you want to feel on vacation, right? The soundtrack stays in the background and keeps you feeling the vibe of each area as well. Owlchemy Labs just kills it with how each area is set up.

VR is a tricky area to make a lasting impression in given the recommended playtimes and short gameplay. Owlchemy Labs has found their niche with the Simulator series, and this one proves it. They took something already great in Job Simulator and made it even better in Vacation Simulator. Taking a vacation for most is a luxury, but do yourself a favor and pick up Vacation Simulator for PlayStation VR, Steam VR, or Oculus. We all deserve the chance to indulge in some time away.

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