Viveport Review: Nevrosa: Escape
GexagonVR has managed to create a must-play escape room experience that takes full advantage of room-scale VR.
By Joshua Hawkins, Greenlit Content
Room-scale virtual reality has been a very large selling point for the HTC Vive since its initial release, and while many games have employed room-scale VR to help coax in players, very few have ever really taken full advantage of the room-scale system that Vive offers to create a riveting and immersive experience that will keep you craving more. One of those few, though, is GexagonVR, the virtual reality developer responsible for creating Nevrosa: Escape, which is by far the best escape room experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of diving into.
First up on the list: immersion. Immersion is such a huge part of virtual reality and Gexagon has managed to hit the pinnacle of immersion with Nevrosa: Escape. Set in an old, rustic house, Nevrosa: Escape pushes players to fully explore an old laboratory as they try to solve the puzzles left behind by their grandfather. The mystery is one worth investigating as well, and throughout the entire experience, the atmosphere and overall feeling of the setting really help to paint a vivid picture of the world around you.
To help with this immersion, Nevrosa: Escape has done away with any artificial forms of locomotion. Instead, players will need to have a play space of at least 2m x 1.5m to even dive into the game and experience it, as you’ll need to move around your realistic playspace to explore the virtual world. Of course, I’d suggest going a little bit larger with your playspace if you can, as I managed to snag my hand on the wall a few times when trying to grab objects around me.
Escape rooms are all about the puzzles that they have inside them, and making sure to balance the puzzles between challenging and impossible can be difficult to say the least. Gexagon have done a pretty solid job with Nevrosa: Escape, though, and each puzzle—while challenging—never feels impossible to progress past. This is something that a lot of other escape room experiences struggle with, so it was really nice to not see that as an issue in Nevrosa: Escape.
On top of handling the usual pieces of an escape room well, Nevrosa: Escape also does a really good job of creating an atmosphere that puts the player on edge. This is something that I’ve noticed was missing from a lot of other experiences in this genre. Nevrosa handles this well, painting the world in a fog around you that you need to explore. The dark corners breed terror as you move closer to them; the dim flame from the candle in your hand slowly wavering as you move closer. There were several instances in the game where I noticed my hands shaking and my palms sweating as fear shivered down my spine.
What’s so great about this atmosphere, though, is the developers never resort to jump scares for cheap thrills. Instead, they let the atmosphere do all the work, painting the entire picture in your mind. It’s a great setup that pays off in the end as you finish exploring the world and solving the puzzles that have been placed before you. As for dealing with the fatigue that can come with these types of experiences, Gexagon has crafted several different endings, giving players a reason to replay the experience and see it through to another ending.
Nevrosa: Escape is by far one of the most atmospheric escape room experiences I’ve ever had the opportunity to try out. The mechanics are simple, and the use of real-world locomotion versus teleportation or another artificial locomotion system helps to make an immersive environment that just begs you to explore it as deeply as possible. Multiple endings give players plenty of reason to replay the experience again and again. If you want to see what room-scale virtual reality has to offer and see what a well-crafted and immersive escape room experience can be, then Nevrosa: Escape should be at the top of your list of must-play Vive experiences.
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