3rd Eye Studios is a team made up of ex-Remedy Entertainment developers, bringing along their experience of working on the likes of Alan Wake and Quantum Break to their brand new, PSVR compatible release, Downward Spiral: Horus Station.
It’s a first-person game set aboard an abandoned space station where you are tasked with moving through zero gravity and pushing various buttons to bring systems back online to move on to the next area. If that description sounds fairly drab its because that’s pretty much all the game is.
There is no narrative other than finding what button or switch to interact with and move on. You are in an abandoned space station, but the game doesn’t tell you why, and there are dead bodies lying around, but there is nothing saying what happened to them, so it’s kind of up to you to fill in the gaps and decide what has gone on.
While playing in VR, aiming is controlled by head tracking and you move by firing off a grappling hook in the direction you are looking and slowly glide in the zero gravity ship. There are two options while playing, you can either play with threats turned on or off. I have no idea why you would turn threats off as there are literally a couple of little flying robots that show up in an act to break up the monotony, without them it would be a very drab affair. If the robots manage to kill you, then you spawn right next to them and any you have killed stay dead, so there is zero punishment for dying and that is just as well because sometimes it is so dark in the game it’s impossible to make anything out.
There are also 20 collectibles scattered throughout the game for you to find with a trophy attached for collecting all of them, this will encourage you to explore all the station has to offer if you want to get that 100%.
While some scenes are overly dark, on the plus side, some are visually impressive. The sense of scale in these rooms offers a quite realistic feeling while playing in VR and when outside the ship, the vastness of space is also very impressive. If you are like me then you might enjoy the simple things like that when playing a VR title.
If the aim of the game is to make you feel alone and isolated then it works, however, I think that it might work a little too well. I find it ironic that the game is called Downward Spiral as my fun levels plummeted while playing the game and I just found it a really boring game to play. I did start thinking how good the game could be if it was a horror title as the setting was really creepy and eerie, but unfortunately, nothing happened.
When playing VR titles with free movement I tend to be one of those players that can get a little sick feeling, that did not happen with this title. So, if you’re someone that’s also a bit like that, you should hopefully be ok with this title as the developers have done a good job dealing with the locomotion effect.
Overall I found Downward Spiral: Horus Station to be a game that is hard for me to recommend for anything other than being something that is kind of nice to look at from time to time in VR, but there are many other VR games out there that you may feel are more deserving of your money.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*