While the VR market is seeing a surge in game releases, it’s easy to view much of its catalogue as having a singular purpose—entertainment. However over the last few years the team at RiseAngle have been attempting to surpass this norm, injecting morally uplifting and righteous messages into their largest project to date entitled World of Mazes.
Given VR’s potential for incredible immersion, the psychological and moralistic ramifications of experiencing and committing violent and socially detrimental acts is of course a contentious topic. And given the mediums’ relatively recent inception, little research has been committed to the topic—although a handful of studies do exist. As such, it is extremely refreshing to see RiseAngle wholly commit to a non-violent and explorative approach to the medium, looking to entertain, challenge and uplift audiences without the need for violence.
Step into the Maze
World of Mazes immerses Oculus Go players into a dreamy cosmic system. As an immersive point-and-click adventure, players embark on a journey to search for a lost princess, escape dark mazes, solve challenging puzzles, and meet a colourful array of cartoonish characters along the way. Amid micro-puzzles and moments of dialogue, players are tasked with completing quests and missions which propel them towards the ultimate goal of finding the princess. Of course, in searching for a lost princess in a dark, decrepit, and mysterious environment, you realise there is something much larger going on, and a much larger universe, with its historic storyline, slowly reveal themselves. To date, two chapters of the game have been released on Oculus Go. Check more information on the chapters here and here, and their gameplay trailers here and here!
While developing World of Mazes RiseAngle ensured to keep their ideal of a morally upstanding game in plain sight—creating an entire in-game universe around this central principle.
The most eminent embodiment of this philosophy is the fact that there is no violence, whatsoever, instead making the point-and-click puzzle solving more akin to classics like Machinarium or Monkey Island games. In such a lineage, World of Mazes also adopts the tendency to provide real head-scratching moments providing the perfect, still challenging, alternative to VR’s oversaturation of challenging violent romps.
RiseAngle has explained this philosophy through the reasoning asking “do you kill creatures or people in the real world when you face a challenge?” No, of course not, we all hold certain moral standards so we find alternative methods around challenges in the real world. The challenges presented within World of Mazes certainly reflect this philosophy focusing on individual reasoning skills, exploration and conversation with NPCs.
Speaking of NPCs, World of Mazes also prides itself with a compelling and well-presented narrative. Its host of NPCs interact with the player in similarly non-violent ways, with quests’ and missions’ resolutions amounting to positive, wholesome messages that have had audiences hooked.
Of course, presenting an atypical gaming format to audiences can get mixed responses, but of those who have got their hands on the Oculus Go edition of World of Mazes many have responded well to its positive themes. The most resounding compliment for the game comes from one of its many Oculus Store reviews, exclaiming that the game is one of the few “real games” available for the Oculus Go. That said, with the Go being discontinued earlier this year, audiences are awaiting for the game to receive a port to more popular VR systems, to retain its presence as VR quickly moves forwards. And the good news is, based on the information on the company’s website, from the statements by the company’s founder, Kaveh Vahdat, explaining the company’s mission and goals, it seems that the game series might be coming to Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Oculus Quest headsets soon, so stay tuned!
Ultimately, World of Mazes prides itself on a very amiable goal—to provide a morally sound gaming experience. It certainly manages to achieve this by leaning into its strengths as a point and click puzzler, focused on complex puzzles, environmental exploration, and a sweeping narrative.
By doing so, it joins the ranks of similarly non-violent, morally upstanding titles which occasionally emerge, primarily from the indie-game sphere. Given its positive reception, it’s clear that the VR market is keenly awaiting more such titles. Fortunately for them, RiseAngle hopes to continue the episodic narrative of World of Mazes into the future.