Oculus Rift gamers have been enjoying some climbing action with Crytek’s The Climb ever since it launched in 2016, with the stunning visuals and intuitive controls making for an experience that managed to feel both intense and relaxing at the same time. I mean, who wouldn’t want to scale some epic heights whilst observing plenty of beautiful sights around them, right?
Oculus Quests owners can now get in on the action too, with the game’s recent release on the platform allowing for some virtual reality climbing minus the clumsy wires. One of the biggest selling points of The Climb was just how impressive it looked visually on the Oculus Rift though – does it still offer the same beautiful and enthralling climbing experience on inferior hardware?
If it wasn’t obvious, The Climb’s gameplay revolves around scaling a series of climbs in three different locales: the Alps, the Bay and the Canyon. Points in which you can grab out to and climb are clearly marked in the game, with the player simply reaching out to them and holding down the trigger button in order to hold themselves in place – basically, it works exactly as you’d expect it to, with the climbing mechanics feeling the same as they would in real life. There are other things to consider though, such as your stamina meter which decreases if you aren’t holding yourself in place with both hands, whilst some tricky jumps will require both precision and quick reactions from the player to get through safely. It all feels good to perform in-game though and the climbing mechanics are both accurate and enjoyable.
Each area offers three different climbs which are spread against varying difficulties, so it’s a good idea to get to grips with the game on the ‘easy’ mode before moving up to the tougher challenges. Whilst the gameplay mechanics themselves are straight-forward, some of the harder climbs will genuinely test your skills and are no cakewalk, so you won’t want to get cocky and push yourself too much early on. There are also two bouldering levels to tackle per environment too, which will REALLY test your skills – these challenges offer no room for error, so only the best players will be able to survive through to the end.
There’s plenty on offer across The Climb, so you won’t be through with it fast. There are also gameplay modes which allow you to practice, a ‘Tourist’ mode that allows you to climb with no consequences in place, and even the ability to take on other player’s ghosts in races across each climb. The Climb is a simple game, but there’s plenty of content to keep you hooked in for some time.
One of the things I particularly appreciated were the secrets you can uncover, with hidden locales and extra shortcuts in place for those who’re willing to explore a little during their climb. There are hidden collectibles to find along the way too, whilst the score you achieve on each climb will place you on the leaderboard too. I’m not typically a score-chaser in video games, but there was something about The Climb that saw me eagerly wanting to… well, ‘climb’ up above my rivals with my scores. There are also achievements to complete that’ll unlock additional items to wear in-game, though they’re only cosmetic so I didn’t find myself too invested in them.
There’s a good workout to be had playing The Climb, and you can probably expect to have some aching shoulders after playing for some time. The sensation of height you’ll feel when playing is impressive too – whilst I’ll admit that a sense of vertigo never really kicked in, looking down and around me as I worked my way up still managed to keep in awe. That first fall when climbing totally caught me off guard too, so watch out for that…
So there’s no doubting that The Climb is enjoyable to play, but it won’t be for everyone. It’s all about climbing after all, so if you’re not really interested in that already there won’t be much in the game to convince you otherwise. Sure, it does have its thrills and it captures the extreme vibe of climbing perfectly (especially in the tougher levels), but at the end of the day you’re doing something that has been included as a feature or a mini-game in other virtual reality titles – albeit it on a bigger and meatier scale.
One of the biggest questions I had before playing The Climb on the Oculus Quest was how well it’d hold up visually, and thankfully I’m happy to report that it’s still a very pretty game. The sights around you are impressive, the textures of the rocks that you’re reaching out to themselves looks good, whilst there’s a real sense of scale and presence to the experience too. However, it doesn’t look anywhere near as good as it does on its PC counterparts, with a lot of visual detail and effects being sacrificed on the Oculus Quest.
Is it a bad thing? Not really, with The Climb still proving to be a visually impressive game. If you have enjoyed it on the Oculus Rift where it’s at its prettiest in the past though, you might find yourself feeling a little underwhelmed at what’s on offer here. If it’s your first experience of The Climb, you’ll probably be in awe of its remarkable sights.
The Climb is a thoroughly enjoyable climbing simulator for Oculus Quest players to really sink their teeth into, with the thrilling climbs, the intuitive controls, and the impressive sights making for an entertaining venture in their headsets.
Sure, the visuals aren’t as good as those seen in its Oculus Rift counterpart and the game itself probably won’t be for everyone, but gamers who fancy an extreme virtual reality experience that’ll send them to some epic heights won’t want to miss out on The Climb’s treacherous thrills.
Publisher: Crytek, Oculus Studios
Platform(s): Oculus Quest (Reviewed), Oculus Rift
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