Oculus VR Preview - The Climb

I've mentioned before that you need an open mind when going into any VR title. And when you hear that there's a game about climbing rocks in virtual reality, you really do need an open mind. The Climb lives up to its name, as you'll spend the whole game climbing. But your arms won't get too tired.

The version of The Climb that I played had me using the Xbox One controller for most of the controls. Though your head tracking does play an important part. I started off somewhere in a mine, climbing my way up and out. As I looked up and around me, I could see obvious handholds, which were made more apparent by white chalk marks that indicated others had used the same grips.

The Xbox Controller's triggers were used to grab and hold with the left and right hands. Letting go of the trigger released the corresponding hand, and pulling it would have you grab onto something, provided that your hand was in the right spot. To get your hand in the right spot, you would simply use your head to look at the next place to grab onto. This took a little getting used to, but I caught on quickly. Your hand would hover over a hold, when your head was pointing in the right direction.

The game seems pretty simple at this point, but there are some additional components that add to the difficulty. First, you can only hold on with a single hand for so long. If you're fumbling around and can't find a place to grab with your other hand, then you'll lose your grip and fall. Holding on with both hands lets you rest, and refill your grip meter. You'll also need to re-chalk your hands from time to time, to ensure that you keep a solid grip.

What I really enjoyed about the game was that there always seemed to be multiple ways that you could get through any area. There was no "right" place to put your hands to climb. Occasionally, you might find that you've climbed yourself into a spot that isn't going to lead to your destination. But for the most part, if you look around enough, you'll find somewhere to go, in the direction that you need to be heading. If you're having trouble, there's also a guide that you can bring up, which will suggest a route for you to take.

Along the way, you'll find carabiners hanging down. These are your checkpoints. Should you fall at any point, you'll start over at the last checkpoint that you passed. Once you've finally made it all the way to your destination, you're rewarded. For the level I was on, the reward was a breathtaking view from high up in the Alps (which was the location I had selected). Each area that you complete is said to have similar beautiful views, which are a sort of reward for the player. I spent a good minute or two just taking in the sights from that vantage point.

The Climb is being produced by Crytek, a game known primarily for shooters. However, their ability to create beautiful environments really pays off in this game. It will be releasing sometime in April with a price of $49.99.