GexagonVR’s horrifically twisted take on the VR escape room experience, Nevrosa: Escape, might not be the most recent release. In fact, having launched back in December of 2017, it has definitely had some time to mature. However, when a game with an already impressive Steam rating gets a face-lift and reduced price, it’s kinda hard not to take notice.
So, we have decided to return to the old family estate and see if this escape room game is aging like fine wine, or stinky cheese. Fair warning, this game contains blood magic and interdimensional themes. You may want to bring along your giant eldritch spider repellent and if bug-eyed homunculi make you queasy, turn back now. Today we are diving headfirst into the weirdness that is Nevrosa and seeing if it lives up to its new $14.99 price tag.
A Room Within A Room
If you are new to the idea of escape room games, I will not explain it to you. Instead, I will give you a moment to think about what you have just read. All caught up? Good. Nevrosa: Escape is an escape room game. Like most, you need to solve various puzzles, perform tedious tasks, and ultimately escape the room you are trapped in. In this game, that room happens to be a laboratory that also happens to contain a terrifying man-creature.
Yes, Nevrosa takes the escape room concept we know and love and thrusts it right into one of Lovecraft’s nightmares. If you’re not spilling your blood to please an ancient artifact, your pumping blood into some steampunk style squirt gun, to shoot at spiders from another dimension, of course. Once you have overcome all manner of weirdness, you then face one last choice that leads to various ends to the nightmare.
Personally, I really love the idea of an escape room that isn’t bound completely by logic. Including the strange devices and mystic items, opened doors that allowed the game to take you beyond the setting, without actually leaving the room. The end result, is a game that takes place in a tiny lab where a simple outlandish shift in perspective can completely change the landscape.
Press All Buttons, Turn All Knobs
Most of the gameplay in Nevrosa revolves around reading clues and touching everything you possibly can in order to see how it works. The game does have a fair number of tasks for you to perform but is very light on actual puzzles to solve. However, the tasks are broken up with a smattering of action sequences that keep the pace from feeling too slow.
The action always involves you trying to survive while interacting with an object in order to get away. Think of it like an escape room within an escape room. This is one of the more unique gameplay elements in Nevrosa. An interdimensional doorway might send you to the spider infested cracks between worlds. Or, a cursed relic might shrink you down to the size of a mouse and have you fending off a monster from within a grandfather clock.
While this game has an interesting story, setting, and concept, none of the elements really stand up on their own. The tasks are not overly difficult, the story could be stronger, and the setting could use a little more atmosphere to drive home the dread. However, when everything is blended together, the result is intriguing enough to keep you pushing forward. Even after completion, I found myself wanting to go back to see what I missed.
Floppy Meat Hands
You will need to know a couple of things going into this game. You absolutely need a play area of at least 2m x 1.5m, and 360° tracking. This game is built around room-scale interaction and has zero support for any controller-based movement. Aside from that, gripping, moving, and interacting with objects is a pretty standard affair. Nevrosa does suffer from several collision detection issues while gripping objects, resulting in items spinning in your hands or dropping. It can be managed if you take your time, but it is worth mentioning.
You do have an options menu that allows you to adjust volume, language, and graphics settings. You can also restart the chapter or return to the games staging area, where you can select any chapter you have completed.
I really wanted to like the room-scale feature in this game, but I ran into several issues. My play area wouldn’t always match up to the environment, leaving something just out of reach. My floor level seemed to be slightly off, making it difficult to pick up objects. I actually found myself missing some sort of controller turning just because of my HMD cable getting in the way. While I understand the choice to go full room-scale for immersion, having more options would have elevated some of my frustrations here.
Into the Myst
Graphically, this game is wonderful. The recent update to the graphics took an already good-looking game and really made it shine. We do get a few weak spots in regards to lighting issues and blood effects. However, the world is full of interesting things to look at and the consistent theme throughout the game helps to keep you vested.
The audio is another area that got an overhaul. The symphonic tracks do a great job at building tension and pushing the action sequences. It is just one more element that helps drive you deeper into this creepy little nightmare world.
The only area of the game that I found to be a little bland was the misty mirror worlds. They felt a little flat compared to the games main room. I am not sure if it was a lack of ambiance, or just look of the place, but it felt small and uninspired. Luckily, you do not have much time to think while in this area, as the inhabitants want to liquefy your insides and force a hasty departure.
My total playtime for Nevrosa: Escape is sitting at about two hours. However, I spent a fair amount of time playing around and went back for each possible ending. Unfortunately, as with most escape room or puzzle games, that means I have no real reason to go back into the game. Of course, I can also say that I experienced the game to its fullest!
I would like to have had more challenging obstacles to overcome, or perhaps some more negative factors that force me to think quicker. However, the mix of having problem solving mixed with action sequences is a fantastic concept. The story really needs a stronger delivery. As it stands, it comes off as a little weak when compared to the rich environment and good graphics. Between the low challenge and loose story, the gameplay comes off as average.
When all is said and done, $14.99 still feels a little too high for the amount of gameplay and story you will get out of Nevrosa. The concept is really strong, it just needs a little more to back it up. If you would like to check out Nevrosa: Escape for yourself, you can pick it up on Steam. It is available for the Rift, Vive, and WMR headsets.