Wallace and Gromit are timeless British icons, with the duo showing up across TV specials, movies, magazines, video games, and augmented reality over the last thirty-plus years. Now, they’re making their virtual reality debut, with Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway sending the pair to space for another wacky yet charming adventure.
Check out some screenshots down below:
Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway should tell the story of the duo heading out to Bognor Regis for a peaceful golfing holiday, but of course, things go wrong. Deciding to travel by rocket ship was probably a bad idea to begin with, but when a golfing mishap sees the ship re-directing and crash-landing on the planet Mars, they’ve got to find a way to get back home. With the player alternating control between Wallace, Gromit, and their very helpful Robo Caddy contraption, they’ll solve puzzles and gather the pieces required to fix up the rocket ship, all whilst being led along by the ever-helpful AI bot BERYL (who can admittedly be a bit guilty of dragging some story segments out a bit too long).
It’s an endearing narrative that fits the characters perfectly, whilst the presentation feels spot on for an Aardman-involved project. I did wonder how accurately it would capture the Claymation style so fondly associated with Wallace and Gromit, but it’s effectively conveyed in-game and will make players really feel like they’re right there with the duo. The environmental design is perfect too, whether that’s when exploring a homely British living room, fixing up the rocket ship for the holiday, or scavenging across Mars’ unusual landscape looking for parts.
“There’s nothing overly complex and the puzzles aren’t particularly challenging, but the variety and quick-paced nature of the tasks you complete ensure they’re enjoyable and keep the experience fresh.”
When it comes to the gameplay, Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway keeps things pretty simple. Everything takes place from a stationary position where players are able to reach out around them to grab at objects and interact with different mechanisms, whilst a simple teleportation function lets them move to other set spots across the environment. When playing as Robo Caddy, you’re also able to zip your arm out to grab items from a distance and also put them in your mouth to blast them out, which can be useful during some of the game’s puzzles and mini-games.
The puzzling and mini-games are the highlight of the experience, with some fun set pieces to get through that’ll demand the typical motion-based actions you’d expect from a virtual reality title. You’ll be hitting buttons to play a musical take on Simon Says, grabbing and mixing items together in a scrapyard, playing a game of ‘Whack-a-Mole’ to power up your engine with strange fruit, blasting alien creatures from a turret to hit targets, and smashing incoming asteroids away with a cricket bat, just to name a few of the antics you’ll get up to. There’s nothing overly complex and the puzzles aren’t particularly challenging, but the variety and quick-paced nature of the tasks you complete ensure they’re enjoyable and keep the experience fresh. I had a really good time playing, whilst the shorter length (it comes in at under two hours) ensures that the game doesn’t run out of ideas or grow stale – at £11.99, it feels like the perfect price for what you get.
Check out some screenshots down below:
That being said, there were a couple of issues that I came across, such as the controls feeling a little bit fiddly in places. There were times where the game just wouldn’t seem to let me grab at items despite my hand being directly on them, whilst the aiming mechanics when blasting objects from Robo Caddy’s mouth could be awkward too. It felt like the game didn’t recognise my button presses at times to grab objects, even though I could clearly see my in-game hand making the actions that correspond with each button. It was a little weird, and whilst it wasn’t a constant problem, I noticed it on a few occasions when trying to complete some early tasks that demanded a bit more precision.
The issues aren’t problematic enough to stop players from having a good time though, whilst there’s even a mixed reality experience called ‘Jamtastic’ included that sees a holographic Wallace guide you along as you shoot jam on pieces of toast flying across the room. Sure, it isn’t a particularly sophisticated experience, but it’s surprisingly addictive and acts as a perfect accompaniment to the main game that players of all ages can enjoy.
Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway Review
Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway is a charming virtual reality experience that captures the quirky yet endearing vibe of the characters perfectly. It does play things relatively safe with its simplistic setup and controls, but the variety of puzzles and mini-games ensure players will be kept entertained throughout the short but sweet escapade.
There were a few fiddly issues with the controls and some story sequences could drag out longer than they needed to, but Wallace and Gromit in the Grand Getaway still manages to stand out as an amusing experience that marks a successful virtual reality debut for the iconic duo.
Developer: Aardman, Atlas V, No Ghost, Albyon, Reynard Films
Platform(s): Meta Quest 2|3 (Reviewed)