Release Date: Out Now
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
Among the string of high profile releases that have hit PlayStation VR over the last couple of months, there’ve been plenty of smaller titles come out too that might not typically catch the eye. One of those was Hex Tunnel: a trippy first-person title that sees you blitzing through levels and avoiding any obstacles that come in your way. It’s available for a pretty low price, though that’ll probably give you a good idea of what to expect from the game – it’s a low-budget experience that isn’t necessarily awful, but isn’t particularly good either.
Hex Tunnel sees you navigating through a series of psychedelic tunnels, all whilst listening to a surprisingly good soundtrack and carefully avoiding any obstacles in your way. You don’t control the speed you move at, but instead just use your head to control basic movement as you attempt to weave your way through and reach the end. It’s very, very basic, and the game is easy enough to get to grips with immediately.
Realistically speaking, Hex Tunnel isn’t a particularly good game. There’s no real depth to it, and it’d probably fall more in line with being an experience more than an actual game. Despite this, I found that I actually got a bit addicted to it – the simplicity of just moving your head to navigate tunnels actually appealed to me, so it was easy to switch off just get lost in it all.
However, it won’t be long until some of the annoyances really kick in. For example, if you hit an object in the game you go straight back to the main menu – there are no extra lives or quick restarts, but a reboot back to the start of the game. In fairness, the loading times aren’t bad so it’s not hard to get back in, but it’s still an inconvenience.
It doesn’t help that the movements of the obstacles you avoid in the game are so sporadic though. You can keep an eye of the obstacles ahead of you and sometimes they’ll follow a specific pattern, but then as you get closer you’ll notice that they also move in a completely unpredictable manner that’s hard to avoid. The player’s movement in the game isn’t exactly the most flexible either, so it’s not like you can make quick jolting turns to get out of the way. As mentioned, the game could feel pretty addictive at times, but when the random nature of the obstacle movement feels like it’s working against you, it’s a little difficult to motivate yourself to keep playing.
At least there’s a good selection of levels to play across though, with each based upon different elements such as fire, water and air. Typically, this mainly changes up the colour scheme, but you’ll at least notice some different obstacles in there too. There are also different game modes to play across, though it’s never fully explained what they each offer – they utilise the same levels though, so it’s probably easier to stick to the standard arcade mode and actually be able to pick what level you want to play.
On a visual basis, Hex Tunnel isn’t the prettiest of PlayStation VR titles you’re going to play. Whilst there’s plenty of bright colours and weird shapes to be seenn, the textures themselves feel incredibly basic and like they’ve come straight from the PSOne era. Not only that, but there’s this strange blur in the game that distorts your view of objects around you. Like other areas of the game, it’s an example of Hex Tunnel being a low-budget release.
At least the music is actually pretty slick though, with plenty of techno and dance tunes to listen to as you go through each tunnel. Whilst I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily a fan of the genre, the cool beats were catchy and certainly added a nice touch to proceedings.