Publisher: Digigo Games
Release Date: Out Now
Format(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), HTC Vive, Oculus Rift
After starting life as mobile virtual reality title, Rangi has now finally made its way to PlayStation VR. With its heavy African-folklore inspiration, Rangi sees you taking on the role of a Shaman as you work to restore the mythical Music Giants’ life force and bring rhythm back to the world. It’s not the most intricate of plot lines, but the setting and African aesthetic help it feel unique throughout.
Helping bring the rhythm back to the world involves working your way across a variety of puzzles as you look to connect colour-filled lines in circuits that span the environment. It’s a simple concept, and one that actually reminded me a little of The Witness, but it makes for a satisfying and charming experience throughout.
Whilst earlier levels simply see you shifting around blocks and walls to connect the lines across each area’s circuit, eventually you’ll find yourself in much larger areas with more complicated puzzles. You’ll have to have a good memory, quick reactions, and some clever thinking if you’re going to get through everything that Rangi throws your way. They’re all fun though, and there was never a level that felt poorly designed.
There’s a good balance to the difficulty, and whilst some puzzles could be solved with ease, some were real head scratchers. Semi-platforming elements are introduced in later levels too, as are enemies and hazards that you’ve got to quickly evade if you’re going to survive. It’s never just puzzling in the game, and the implementation of harmful gameplay elements was a neat way to keep things exciting.
Whilst I typically prefer free locomotion in a virtual reality title, Rangi is one of the only examples of a game where I think teleportation perfectly suits it. There are specific points of levels that are marked with a small white aura that you’re able to teleport to with a simple aim and button press of the Move controller. From there, you can turn around freely and take in your surroundings.
Having specific points where you teleport between ensured that each puzzle never became overwhelming, no matter how big of an environment they might be played across. You know that each point you can teleport to will have some role to play in solving the enigma too, so you’re never left wandering around aimlessly. Of course, some points you can teleport to are technically optional, but with plenty of collectible artefacts to find throughout each level they normally serve some purpose.
The only real issue I had with movement was that there seemed to be a brief moment of loading as you teleport, with it never being an instantaneous transition. This is hardly the biggest of issues to have with a game, but seeing a slight gap in movement was noticeable. I know, I know, I’m nitpicking, but other games have managed to get it right so it bothered me a little here.
I wasn’t really expecting a high visual quality given Rangi’s mobile origins, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that despite being rather simple in design, the game’s aesthetic had enough personality and detail to ensure you never grow bored of exploring any of the levels. The African inspiration shows throughout with some tribal architecture and paintings on display, whilst the vivid colours and the scale of each level ensures you’re constantly impressed. My favourite aspect is probably found with the sheer size of the Music Giants though, whose presence is heavily felt when you see their shadows eclipse a level as they walk around – it’s certainly impressive to witness in virtual reality.
Typically, I don’t always talk about the soundtrack in a video game, but given the heavy music inspiration of Rangi and just how good it actually is I’d be remiss not to. Again, the African inspiration is present throughout with some soothing drum beats and melodic singing to make for a jovial little backing track. Everything is so upbeat and it actually reminded me a little of some of the music from the original Crash Bandicoot, which can only be a good thing – everything about the soundtrack just complemented the charming gameplay so well.