Statik

EDGE - - CONTENTS - Developer/pub­lisher Tar­sier Studios For­mat PSVR Re­lease Out now

PSVR

Statik’s great­est trick, among many, is to make the DualShock the star of this darkly comic puz­zle game. While Move con­trollers ape their more ca­pa­ble Vive and Touch cousins, PSVR’s unique abil­ity to pop a tra­di­tional con­troller into the world with you thanks to the Dualshock 4’s light bar is an un­der­rated as­pect of Sony’s VR setup.

Not that you’ll see a rep­re­sen­ta­tion of it – or any­thing re­sem­bling your hands, for that mat­ter. In­stead, you’ll find your­self locked into a se­ries of puz­zle boxes that bris­tle with sci­en­tific com­po­nents. Given no in­struc­tions on what to do, you’re left to press but­tons at ran­dom to see which parts of your dig­i­tal prison ac­ti­vate in re­sponse. One but­ton might make an empty slide tray pop out of the top, while an­other turns a dial that ini­tially seems to have no use. Squeez­ing a trig­ger could send a di­ag­o­nal scan across a vec­tor dis­play; one of the ana­logue sticks might give you the chance to in­put num­bers or let­ters into a ticker screen.

It’s up to you fig­ure out the rel­e­vance of ev­ery in­ter­ac­tion, and piece to­gether the or­der in which you must do things to make the box spit out a lit­tle printed ticket. Once this is scanned by a ro­bot that al­ways ac­com­pa­nies you dur­ing your at­tempts, you’ll be rewarded with a lung­ful of sleep­ing gas be­fore wak­ing up in some other lab ready to tackle the next puz­zle. There is no through-line or com­mon logic, and ev­ery box rep­re­sents a unique set of chal­lenges. Tilt­ing the DualShock about al­lows you to squint at the var­i­ous sides of the de­vice as you search for clues, but there will of­ten be more hints dot­ted about the ster­ile labs in which you tackle each test.

You’ll also be ob­served by Dr In­gen, a salty, dis­pas­sion­ate and rather rude sci­en­tist. Over time, as your role in the world and his re­la­tion­ship to his em­ploy­ers is slowly re­vealed, he be­comes an even more tragic fig­ure. And while Statik shares Por­tal’s at­mos­phere of cold dis­lo­ca­tion and macabre ap­a­thy, it quickly as­serts its own char­ac­ter, and the finely con­ceived me­chan­ics and puz­zles are all Tar­sier’s own. Fig­ur­ing out each in­tri­cate box is a joy, and for the most part Tar­sier per­fectly judges the line be­tween ob­scu­rity and logic as you grad­u­ally make progress.

While solv­ing each box is an in­volved process, most play­ers will have seen the end of the game within a cou­ple of hours. Statik’s most ob­ser­vant lab rats will find ways to pro­long their time in its labs (see Re­tune), but the fact that the game feels like it comes clat­ter­ing to halt all too soon is less a crit­i­cism of its brevity and more a tes­ta­ment to the game’s imag­i­na­tive, mor­eish qual­ity.

It’s never pos­si­ble to dis­cern Dr In­gen’s fea­tures as his face is blurred through­out the game – on the oc­ca­sions where you have a chance to see your­self, the same is true of your own face, too. It’s all a bit threat­en­ing

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