My favourite kind of virtual reality games are those that feel like they could ONLY work with the added immersion offered by one of the headsets. The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is one such title, with its whimsical collect-a-thon adventure allowing gamers to scour a variety of colourful worlds as they look to find some animals that’ve gone missing. It might sound slightly odd (and it can be), but it really makes for a delightful experience that’s brought to life through virtual reality.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets tells the story of a young boy and his grandfather, with the grandfather sharing the memories of his past and some of the delightful things that came with it. It does take some emotional turns too though, but I’ll leave that for the player to discover – just know that it all acts as tale to go alongside the hunting of ‘stolen’ pets.
The main gameplay experience of The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets revolves around interacting with five floating worlds, each of which has a completely different theme. Your goal is to find the five hidden pets that are scattered across each one – some of them are hiding in plain sight and will just require a few nudges of the environment to uncover, whilst others will take a bit more tinkering to find and are often hidden behind a small puzzle-like sequences.
These puzzles are fairly simple to solve and normally just require you to use a particular item or interact with the environment in a specific way, but some can actually be quite challenging. I don’t want to spoil any of them here, but you should probably expect to find yourself momentarily stumped on occasions. Once you do figure out what you need to do and get that ‘eureka’ moment though, you may be left wondering why you were so perplexed to begin with. It’s all delightful stuff, with The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets’ gameplay proving to be both easy-going and enjoyable.
The worlds themselves are full of detail too, with objects in the environment all easy to interact with and the little inhabitants of each world making them feel like lived-in settings. It’s always worth taking a closer look at each world to see what you can uncover, with the sense of scale that you’ll feel when peeking in at them never failing to impress. Those who take the time to explore each world carefully will find there are some hidden coins to collect too, so there’s an extra incentive in place to take the time to scour around.
The whole experience reminded me a lot of Ghost Giant and Moss, with the player taking on the role of a giant that has to explore these tiny yet charming worlds. They all really feel like they are right there in front of you though, and it’s a wonderful thing to get to experience in virtual reality. I would recommend standing when playing though – whilst sitting is viable, it’s a lot easier to really dive into a world and take it all in if you stand around it.
The only real flaw I found with The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets was that the experience was over so soon, with the game easily cleared in around ninety-minutes. It’s hard to imagine going back for more too, especially since there’s nothing left to work out after you’ve solved the puzzles once. I wouldn’t necessarily say that the game didn’t have enough going on though and I wasn’t dissatisfied at all – I’m just greedy and wanted some more pet-hunting fun.
Despite this, the accessibility of the game does mean it’s perfect for sharing with family and friends of all ages. I let my younger nephew play through the game and he was blown away by the vibrant adventure, with laughs and smiles aplenty as he uncovered the hidden secrets of each world. With the holiday season coming up too, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is the perfect game to not only show off your virtual reality headset but also share a good time with those you care about.
Presentation-wise, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets looks very lovely on PlayStation VR, with the vibrant colours bringing the world to life and the visuals all looking smooth and sharp throughout. The soundtrack captures the cheery vibe of the game perfectly too, with each little tune fitting in perfectly with all of the different worlds you explore.
I also got to try out the Oculus Quest version of the game and for the most part it was exactly the same, though the higher resolution of the headset did make everything look a little smoother. PlayStation VR owners won’t feel hard done by in comparison though, so it’s easy to recommend The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets across both platforms.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is a delightful virtual reality escapade that’ll keep a smile on your face as you explore its whimsical worlds.
There’s plenty to see and do across the game whilst uncovering the ‘stolen’ pets, whilst the small puzzles that you’re tasked with solving can prove challenging on occasions too. It’s just a shame that the experience is over so quickly, with The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets’ adventure one that I would’ve liked to have spent more time with.
Developer: Fast Travel Games
Publisher: Fast Travel Games
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive