There are plenty of thrills and spills for gamers to experience on PlayStation VR, with action titles and shooters certainly at the forefront of its expansive catalogue of games. Sometimes though, it’s nice to play something a little peaceful and unique that just gives gamers a sense of escapism. Fujii, the gardening-sim/puzzler from the team at Funktronic Labs, certainly offers that with its charmingly beautiful world and simple gameplay mechanics that just about anyone will be able to enjoy.
Fujii sees you exploring a variety of beautiful landscapes, all whilst solving small puzzles, collecting special orbs from flowers, and nurturing your own little garden in your home hub. It’s a very easy-going experience, with the puzzles tasking you with the likes of banging the petals of a flower to copy a small tune, dashing between lily-pads to light your way across a little lake, or simply watering some flowers so they bloom a reward. There are no nasties to be aware of either, so you can play at your own pace with no risk of being attacked… it’s nice.
It is very simple in design, but offers a satisfying sense of serenity as you indulge in its vibrant world. It’s not a taxing game by any means so you shouldn’t expect a challenge and the gameplay mechanics themselves don’t have a whole lot of depth to them, but it’s not designed to push your skills – it’s just meant to be enjoyed.
That being said, it can be guilty of being a little bit TOO simple at times. The puzzles themselves don’t offer much of a challenge and it doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to nurture your seeds once planted. You can probably see everything the game has to offer in around three hours or so too, so those looking for a long experience may be a little disappointed. Still, there’s something so enticing about the world itself and the gardening mechanics are so charming that it’s easy to keep coming back for more. You can unlock new seed types and personalise your garden in plenty of little ways too, so there’s certainly an incentive in place to keep your green fingers busy.
One of the things that I appreciated the most about Fujii was just how attractive the game world is, with it offering an intimate sense of beauty across it’s small yet colourful locales. Admittedly, the areas you explore are all a bit linear and there are no topsy-turvy maze-like environments to uncover, but they’re all lovingly crafted and so colourful in design that it’s hard not to have a smile on your face as you traverse across them. One particular sequence I loved involves a small boat ride with a little creature that strums a guitar to accompany the journey, and honestly, it was just so peaceful and lovely that I could’ve sat there for ages enjoying it. It was made all the more special thanks to the immersiveness offered by the PlayStation VR headset, with Fujii a title that simply wouldn’t be the same outside of virtual reality.
Fujii is very easy to control too, with the simple mechanics feeling both accessible and comfortable with a pair of Move controllers. I actually had a younger relative who was fairly inexperienced with PlayStation VR try the game and he found it easy to do just about everything, so even non-gamers could enjoy Fujii’s vibrant experience. The Move controllers cover everything, with the player able to collect items, examine their inventory, teleport around, or interact with the world with just a few button presses – it really is simple to get to grips with and certainly one of the more comfortable titles to play on PlayStation VR.
Fujii offers a unique and serene virtual reality experience that just about anyone will be able to enjoy. It doesn’t try to push your skills with tricky gameplay mechanics and everything you do in the game is simple in design, but it feels so satisfying to simply embrace the world and grow your own garden around you that the peaceful change of pace will actually be quite appreciated.
It can be a slightly short-lived experience and the simplicity might not be for everyone, but Fujii is a title that I’d wholeheartedly recommend for PlayStation VR gamers that want to enjoy something that feels a little bit different.
Developer: Funktronic Labs
Publisher: Funktronic Labs
Platform(s): PlayStation VR (Reviewed), Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive