A sci-fi Robin Hood, livestreamed
‘Volume’ is a pun on the game’s themes of speaking truth to power, and to its signature mechanic – a whistle used to distract roving guards. Also, the game is presented almost entirely in volumetric virtual reality: all glowing walls and sharp, polygonal enemies.
Rob Locksley broadcasts a series of stealthy heists from the simulated homes of the rich and powerful in hopes that his viewers will commit genuine robberies, thus subverting the kleptocratic government of near‑future England. One hundred discrete mazes are guarded by pattern-bound soldiers and studded with force fields and lasers. The goal is to steal every gem and escape.
Subtlety and nuance are fortunate by-products of the stringent puzzle design. A patrolling Pawn may have to be lured to a specific point to give you time to get away, for example. This sounds fussy, but new concepts are introduced gently and stacked in increasingly satisfying ways.
Each level has a par time. This focus on efficiency may be most congruent with the game’s framing, but it’s not the only approach. Patience may mean you’re never spotted, but revealing yourself can be a tactical decision. The myriad user-created levels show the
When undistracted by its talkative plot, Volume offers distilled and unencumbered stealth action.
mechanics are unambiguous and consistent, but allow for remarkable flexibility. The script is wry and touching in small moments, yet despite touching on weighty topics like xenophobia, voyeurism and class, neither the plot nor the game’s politics crystallize beyond your foe’s obvious villainy. Joseph Leray
Pink isn’t a good colour on Locksley because it means he’s about to be shot.