One of the most memorable launch titles for PSVR was Job Simulator from Owlchemy labs, but some people felt it was a little too light on content. The developers have heard you, and Vacation Simulator brings a whole lot more to see and do, along with a new premise.
The same bots who tried to simulate humans doing jobs are now trying their hand at beaches, forests, and snowy mountaintops. Is this an unforgettable vacation, or should these bots stick to what they know? Let’s find out.
Simulating Everything But The Long Car Ride
Vacation Simulator takes place in a world where bots try to simulate various human activities and measure the results. It could be the premise of a dystopian sci-fi, but instead this approach goes for the tongue-in-cheek humor that the studio is known for.
Getting into the game is fairly quick, and while the dialogue is genuinely funny at times, I did feel like some of the conversation went on a little too long. Since the game’s focus isn’t on the story, anything that gets between you and the veritable buffer of activities should be kept to a minimum in my opinion.
The introductions are the main culprits, but once you’re past the pleasantries, the robots stick to funny jokes and tech puns, which I really enjoyed.
Beyond some of the required conversations, Vacation Simulator is really about the freedom to go anywhere and interact with just about everything. It’s here that the game really shines. I honestly spent close to an hour just in the main hub area for this reason.
The character customization options are excellent here, with hair styles, accessories, facial hair, and a huge color palette to choose from. Since there’s so much to see and do, I will leave a lot of the magic up to you. This is the kind of game that you should just lose yourself in and experiment to your heart’s content.
Not to say that there isn’t a goal, however. Completing three mini-games and various tiers in some of the larger experiences all gives you “memories” which the bots use as a means of measuring their success.
Collecting all of the memories is the goal here, but you’ll enjoy everything a lot more if you take in the sights and mess around with everything around you. When it comes to the main hub area, you can do everything from play on a working game console (with multiple cartridges to find and insert), to browsing the web or making drinks in a coffee machine.
Little secrets are hidden in much of the objects you find. Food or drinks can be consumed, and a backpack mechanic lets you store items. There’s even a main inventory in your room at the hub area.
I was very surprised to find that books can also be opened and offer jokes or insight into activities. Speaking of, Vacation Simulator offers three distinct locations to visit at your leisure. These include a beach, a forest, and a ski resort in the mountains. Suffice to say, it’s a lot more content than we had in Job Simulator, so anyone worried about that can relax.
Vacation Simulator most certainly earns its cost of entry for me, but again, the mileage you get depends on how deep your willing to dig. Structured mini-games like cooking making an appearance in all areas, as do puzzles that involve manipulating objects (an example being the sandcastle game in the beach).
The forest was my personal favorite, but I think all three areas have their strengths. Since a few of the mini-game templates repeat themselves, I did feel some repetition when I found that I was doing essentially the same things in a different setting, but there’s enough unique content in each area to balance it all out.
Some of the games are one-off experiences, but others offer multiple tiers of difficulty. It’s a nice mixture of different mechanics and some of them get really creative, such as the one where you have to catch fish with your hands in a river and feed them different things to change their color.
Little touches like a working camera and various opportunities to display your custom works around the game world do a great job of making you feel a sense of presence. I never got tired of taking selfies while wearing a pirate hat, for example.
Taken as a whole, Vacation Simulator offers a lot of really fun content across three unique areas. There’s more than enough here to justify the price, but let’s talk about how it all works in motion.
Superb Graphics and Tracking
Graphically, Vacation Simulator looks stunning in PSVR on a PS4 Pro. The colors are vibrant, the graphics are exceptionally sharp, and the interactivity is always a treat. Tracking worked very well for me overall, especially after a patch that released shortly before the writing of this review.
The game did require me to adjust my camera fair bit to capture my movements while standing, but if you have a good camera setup this most likely won’t be an issue for you. I need to work up a wall mount solution like the ones I’ve seen, but for now it’s at the bottom of the TV and it worked fine in this case.
Little touches like being able to adjust the height of the floor or things in front of you with bright pink handles, let you tweak the experience until it works for your setup. As a follow up to Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator is bigger and better in every way.
As a VR title, it’s also one of the most immersive and engaging experiences I’ve played. Those who want to dive deep and find all the secrets will find plenty of love here. Even if you’re just in it for the mini-games, Vacation Simulator offers a compelling reason to get some well-deserved R&R.
Final Score: 8.5/10
A copy of Vacation Simulator was provided to PS4 Experts for review purposes
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert date - 7/1/19