Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son Review

Reviewed on Sony PSVR

Also available on PC

To quote a very wise being from one of my favourite TV shows; "People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff." That pretty much sums up what this review will entail, in its most fundamental form anyway.

Anyone who has seen the 1993 film starring Bill Murray of the same name will know what to expect playing this surprising PSVR adventure. You play Phil Conners Jr and you are stuck in a time loop from hell. You are at a ceremony you don't want to be at, you are trying to grow your vlogging career and against all odds, repair your childhood mistakes.

Here we go again!

All the way through Groundhog Day you get flashbacks to why you never really got on with your father when you were a child. This was before you got stuck in the same predicament as him and throughout the course of the game, you learn to appreciate why he was like he was. It's quite a good story told in a genuine way with a poignant message to tell throughout.

The main premise of this quirky title is to play through the day, get everything completely wrong and learn for the next day's re-run. For a VR title, it's pretty much a perfect game style choice, interactive environments and stories like this one lend themselves well to VR platforms. Gameplay-wise, it plays quite a bit like Tequila Works last game, which I loved, The Sexy Brutale.

I wouldn't eat it.

You must correctly make the day flow, pleasing all the characters and completing various tasks. The only issue is, you do not normally know what needs to be done until you have fluffed it the first time and got yourself into a right mess. Your phone then keeps a track of what tasks you need to do and its up to you to work out how to complete them. The gameplay is simple but quite satisfying when you work things out correctly.

As well as environmental tasks to complete you have a plethora of mini-games to complete too. Ranging from the quite fun ones to a few questionable ones. As with most VR games of this ilk, there is also a range of VR-type activities to have fun with. Drawing, playing guitar's and throwing paper into a basketball hoop over a bin. It's all standard fare for these types of virtual reality games these days and it's very entertaining if unoriginal.

That is a big phone.

Graphically, Groundhog Day is very pleasing. The art style is cartoony and looks very crisp, bright and clear on the low resolution of the PSVR headset. The characters were all well rendered, the environments were detailed and everything was satisfying on the eye. Nothing is lost, nothing is difficult to read or see and I really enjoyed the presentation of this mind-bending, wibbly-wobbly, time-adventure.

The sound design is also rather good. The voice acting is believable, the sound effects are clear and the music fits the style of the game well. All in all the whole titles presentation is top-notch. Even down to the way some of the narrative is told between scenes, Phil Jr interacts with his followers on social media through posts and photos. It's a nice touch that was quite witty and very unique.

Phil's constant social media updates are funny and a unique way to get story elements across to the player.

From a VR implementation standpoint, I had very few issues, If any at all. The tracking was good, the VR 'messiness' was at a minimum. As I have stated before, as soon as you start getting frustrated and have to mess around with your VR setup to get things to work it ruins the experience. I think Groundhog Day is set-up in a way to minimise issues like this and it tells. You are restricted to where you can stand and what you can get involved with and it all works rather well and was enjoyable all the way through this short, five hour or so adventure.

Overall

Groundhog Day is a fun, mind-bending adventure that encourages trial and error. Its funny, witty and everything is presented in a pleasing manner. The VR implementation is good and I had zero issues throughout. Groundhog Day came from nowhere and really surprised me. I really enjoyed it.

8

out of 10

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