After having played this game for a while, I can say that Journey for Elysium is a fun but short experience. Created by Mantis Games and published by Cronos Interactive, this is a game designed for VR on the PC. Currently, the game is retailing for £15.49 on respective store fronts.
Journey for Elysium
To start off, this is a story about the tragic tales of Greek gods and goddesses and how they meddle in the affairs of mortals. You’ve probably seen this depiction in many films and animations throughout the years. These gods just can’t help themselves when it comes to the lives of mortals. Your character is one of these mortals whose start in life is a hard one. Tragedy and hardship sets the tone of the story, and through a series of events, you end up in the underworld. This is where your story begins as you set out to discover why you’re in the underworld as you search for your memories.
The First Step
From the beginning the grandiose settings and environments you find yourself in reflect the Greek mythos from large, scaling towers to carvings of the gods in beautiful detail. This, however, lends itself to the gameplay, which consists mainly of puzzles by numbers. The game takes the environments you find and utilises them within the puzzles. Walls become scaling mountains to climb, floors become spike traps and the like. Each time you clear a zone/area, the story will pull you along and thus open up a new puzzle to explore. I like how the story ties into the experience as it does pull you along at a gentle pace without being too demanding.
The main focus of the game lies within the puzzles you face, and each zone has its own set to complete. These range from basic puzzles, such as solving a 3D puzzle box all the the way to scaling cliffs under a time limit before your holding disappears from under you. However, rarely did I find these puzzles to be too challenging. With a bit of lateral thinking, they were simple cases of rinse and repeat. But that’s not to distract from the puzzles as they are well constructed and executed in imaginative ways. My favourite sets of puzzles were the climbing zones within the void, teleporting from stone-to-stone climbing dangling chains at dizzying heights.
There are a few issues to explore after having played this game for a while. The first I can say are the ways in which you travel the world. They have taken into account that some people may be prone to motion sickness and have chosen to have free movement or the teleporting method. For me, I need to use the latter. I’m prone to the motion sickness of, say, the Skyrim VR method of travel. Even after playing many games in VR, my body can’t get used to it. But even after picking the teleport method, some puzzles still made me feel nauseous as the camera would spin around, causing me to move along with it and thus wreaking havoc on my nausea (was felt on floating stone puzzles).
The other issue I had was with the length of the game. Yes, it’s jam-packed with references to ancient Greek mythology, and the gameplay is fun. But it’s still only a short game totaling to just over 2-3 hours of gameplay depending on how fast you solve the puzzles. This is my biggest issue. I was expecting more elaborate puzzles to really push me into solving them, but rarely did I find a puzzle that couldn’t be solved fairly easily.
My conclusion is that Journey for Elysium is an enjoyable experience. The sense of scale, wonder and sheer size of the puzzles you find are jaw-dropping to look at. The level of detail that has gone into every area can be seen, and nothing is missed out. But the short length of game time, coupled with the lack of replayability doesn’t make me want to play through a second time. No extra challenge modes are available once the game has been completed. But that’s not what this experience is. This is a story-driven VR game, and to that end, it has told a story that is both elegant and compelling. I just wish there was more of it.
Developer: Mantis Games
Publisher: Cronos Interactive
Platform: PC (Oculus, Vive, Steam Index)
Release: 31st October 2019
Do you agree with our review of Journey for Elysium? What are your thoughts? Tell us in the comments below.