Published on October 31st, 2018 | by Michael Newman0
One of my very first memories of watching the movie Aliens was the very beginning when a deep space salvage team comes across Ripley’s shuttle as part of a routine salvage operation. In space it seems like there is no shortage of derelict space ships and stations to go after, as every Sci-Fi film has an endless supply of emergencies and devastation. After all, space is a dangerous place and this final frontier is the backdrop of Detached, a PSVR title (also available on HTC Vive and Oculus Rift) by Anshar Studios. You begin as part of a salvage team aboard a deserted space station, when suddenly everything goes wrong and you end up being separated from your unit. As the lone functioning member, you are tasked with restoring power to the station by going through various hubs and completing puzzles to restore the space station to operational status.
Your Zero-G experience is achieved with the PS4 controller and in a seated position. Using the sticks, you can control the forward, backward and rotation on an axis. Since there is no gravity, you can easily move in all directions and if you aren’t careful quickly get disoriented. This is NOT a VR game for those who experience any type of motion sickness, as you will regularly find yourself rolling and thrusting, attempting to adjust your trajectory as you seek out the next door or puzzle objective. Thankfully the game does allow you to adjust some of these settings to minimize the motion-sickness effect, but those who are prone to it will likely find the game more sickening than enjoyable.
Graphically the game is beautiful, one of the best looking VR games I have seen. Stepping out into space for the first time and looking around at other parts of the station and into the vastness of space is awe inspiring. The interior design is pretty typical for a space-themed desolate space station, complete with terminals that display the stations current operational status, and numerous panels that must be manipulated to complete whatever puzzle is preventing you from moving forward.
Gameplay revolves around going from one section of the station to another and completing tasks to move on in your mission. It’s open-world lite, in that whatever section you tackle first is up to you, and there is never really any guidance on where to go or what to do next. The game doesn’t hold your hand or give you any clues to what you should be doing. In fact, the only clue you have is that there are numerous systems that need to be restored, and since you are the “engineer” of the salvage team you are the only one that can do it. You do get a few tools to use and your suit can be upgraded with a shield, booster, or missiles to help you complete specific puzzles along the way. The puzzles are fun and engaging and include such challenges as boosting through a force field before it turns back on or utilizing your shields for protection as you maneuver through an electrical grid. I enjoyed completing the puzzles and felt they made good use of VR technology.
The single player game is relatively short and can be completed in a few hours depending on your skills with your space suit and how much time you take looking around. There is also a multi-player section, where you can hone your skills to compete in timed trials or “capture the flag” type matches against other people. It’s an entertaining jaunt, and the multi-player aspect does provide a level of replay once you have completed the single player game. Sadly, also which seems to be typical in VR games, the lack of finding people online to play with, means that the multiplayer element of the game will likely go mostly unused.
Detached is certainly a game that shines in VR. However, like many VR titles, its relatively short and the limited multi-player options are not likely to bring you back often. It’s a good game to play for an evening or two but likely won’t see a lot of play afterwards. That’s not to say Detached is a bad game, on the contrary it frequently shows how impressive VR can be, when it’s done right. Graphically the game is beautiful, and you could easily spend a lot of time just exploring the depths of space. Actually, that experience alone might be worth the cost of admission. If you are looking for an opportunity to test out your astronaut skills, and think you can stomach the task, then Detached is a game worth checking out.
What I liked: Beautiful scenery, Simple control scheme
What I liked less: Can become disorienting quickly, No real story to speak of, Lack of online players
3.5 out of 5 stars