TO THE TOP Review
TO THE TOP is a first person platformer with creative level design, tons of VR content and excellent gameplay. Containing a single player campaign, multiplayer matches, hidden gems (or geoms in this case), a wonderful soundtrack and challenging game play, TO THE TOP provides hours of fun for VR enthusiasts.
Game Type: First Person Platformer Price: $19.99 Controller: Move Controllers Game Length: 6+ hours (not including multiplayer) PlayPSVR Score: 9/10
Since I was suspended as a child on a broken down Ferris Wheel I have always been afraid of heights. If you are like me, after watching even 40 seconds of game play of TO THE TOP you may have serious concerns that this game will not vibe well with you. However, the game produced a visceral response so strong tha I have yet to feel an equal force for any other VR game.
In TO THE TOP, the goal is to race through each level (about 15 of them) as fast as possible while also collecting geoms (looks like little crystals). Very simple idea, but the way in which you progress is unlike anything you have experienced before. I consider it like VR parkour. Or possibly a combo between Spiderman and Catwoman. WIth your move controller you reach for various blue blocks, blue surfaces or blue objects. If close enough, you will cling to these object, then will be required to jump the the next. Do this all the way through the level.
However, the thing that really sets this game apart is the level design. I have never seen so many creative, intricate and artistic levels in a video game. The developers really stressed creativity and it makes the game so much more enjoyable. You can climb a gigantic robot, scale an artistic conglomerate of theatrical masks/hands, hop from car to car in a caravan, scale large cranes and buildings, etc. There are three difficulties and each really ups the difficulty so you will have to learn new moves and techniques to advance.
One thing that took me a long to master was successive jumping. It makes sense that if you keep jumping constantly and in succession that you gain momentum, can jump farther and higher and go faster. However, doing is much more difficult than understanding that you have to do it. I am the type of person who likes to jump, stop, assess the situation, make a strategic move, then jump again. TO THE TOP though requires you to make leaps of faith and make that continuous jump and then quickly assess where you are and what move to make next. It is fun, challenging and really increases the enjoyment of the game because so many variables are involved in the game play.
Earlier I mentioned that this game gave me a visceral response unlike any other game (including Resident Evil). So naturally, with a name like TO THE TOP, you are scaling buildings, structures, walls, etc so you are climbing up. So when you are high up and look down, I get the same feeling as if I went rock climbing, or on top of the Empire State building and peek over the edge. And especially when you take a risk and jump without knowing your next step it really gets my adrenaline pumping. My fight of flight reflex kicks in big time and it makes the game so much more exciing. It is almost stressful, but that rush makes is addictive and increases how much you truly enjoy the game, because you can’t do this stuff in real life. But it has a real life feel to it.
Another aspect I absolutely love about this game is the amount of content there is. So about 15 levels but each level has three key components: 1)three unique time limits that pushes you to beat the level as fast as possible 2) find all the geoms (not really hidden, typically 10-15 per level) and 3) find the hidden geom (one that is totally out of the way, hidden big time, or extremely difficult to get to. These three things adds so much to the game and increases the replay value beyond belief. I typically tried to speed run the first time I play a level, then go back and go slow to collect the geoms, then once more to find the hidden geom, then one last time to really complete the level fast since I’ve really analyzed and inspected the whole level. So that if 4 times per level at absolutel minimum. And somehow the levels never get old (or at least not yet). Each time limit you beat, complete geom set you have and hidden geom you find you earn a medal. Medals are used for unlockables and to open up new maps.
There is also a multiplayer mode where you play against others around the world. This is a ton of fun and essentially whoever can beat the level fastest wins. But there are added bonuses if you collect geoms, high five players, etc. Also, the developers put in a little basketball area in each level so if you get tired of racing, you can pick up the basketball and try your luck in some hoops. It shows that they really thought about what else could be added for the enjoyment of player. There are also customizable masks, bodies and hands based off how many medals you have. I have already invested over 5 hours and still have only completed one of the hard levels, so I have a long ways to go. It’s incredible how long this game is, and you will want to find every little geom, play every level and if you are like me, it will become your new obsession.
Another small thing I want to mention is how good the music soundtrack is. In the background you actually hear legitimate music. Apparently a local indie band in Austin, TX was contracted for this and the songs are so good and really match the entire feel of the game. This betters your experience and is just another huge plus.
When I mention a couple things that could be improved upon, you should note how small these changes are and take that as a testiment to how good the game is. First, the songs are awesome and I love them. But there are only like 5 or 6 songs. So after you play it for 5 hours, you have to hear the same songs over and over. It would be nice to have more songs. Second, the game gets incredibly hard. So hard that some levels I despise and I have yet to have “fun” with them. There are several I can’t even beat. I spent like 45 mintes on one level and still can’t beat it. This is incredibly annoying and honestly I think they ratcheted up the difficulty too much. Granted, someone may be way better than me and think it’s not an issue, but for those of us who are modest gamers, it’s simply too hard and not enjoyable in the slightest at some point. I wish they would adjust the levels to be more forgiving later on maybe by increasing your range of your hands or modifying the levels.
All in all, TO THE TOP is a masterpiece and is one of my very rare must buys for all PSVR owners. With addictive game play, high replay value, incredible amount of content and incredible use of immersion, TO THE TOP is a must have and should be priority number one if you don’t already have it. There is something here for everyone and will quire possibly be your favorite purchase of the year so far. I hope you listen to my advice and meet me online as we race against each other TO THE TOP