You are a special human with the ability of telekinesis where you can move items with your mind. Hired by the government, you test your abilities in a fun, comedic fashion to solve physics based puzzles.
Quick Notes Genre: Puzzle Game Length: 2 hours Controller: Dual Shock Price: $8.99 PlayPSVR: 6
If you are a fan of true puzzle games you are in luck, because ESPER is as much of a puzzle game as you are going to get. And with so few true puzzlers in the PSVR library, it was a welcomed addition. In fact, ESPER has been successful on the Gear VR and even ESPER 2 is out for other VR platforms. So we were getting a battle tested and already successful game.
The game begins with very little introduction other than the fact that you can telepathically move certain items with your mind. To do so, use your dual shock controller to point at the object, press X and move. It is a cool concept, however, I feel like a rather easy one and something that has been done before. I Expect You to Die does the same thing, but doesn't stress this ability like ESPER does. In fact, this ability is the centerpiece and foundation of the game, which is disappointing. I would have liked to see something else to make a truly unique experience.
You are testing your abilities in a research lab where you have 5 chapters each with a few physics based puzzles. The first 2 chapters are cake walks. Really, really easy. They pretty much just instruct you on your ability and what limitations you have. For instance, there is some glass that your powers can't penetrate and some objects can't be moved via your telepathy. Other than that, there was a good puzzle on the third chapter, a couple on the the fourth and the fifth chapter had another two decent puzzles.
The overall feel of the game is rather humorous. The narrator plays as a person who is supervising your testing, but funny things keep happening like the tables in the cafeteria are in mid-air and needs attention. I say funny not because the events are actually funny, rather are meant to be comical. In all, a very average presentation and set up for the game.
So the most important thing about a puzzle game are the puzzles, right? So, this game tends to hit or miss on the puzzles for me. Either they are quite obvious or absolute killers. The difficult puzzles really stress your critical thinking skills and make you think outside the box. However, there are several that are easy to know what to do, but execution is rather difficult. I am guessing here, but I would say there are only about maybe 15 puzzles in the entire game. It is rather short, but for $8.99 is fairly priced.
The thing about ESPER is that the puzzles for me were either too easy or absolutely frustrating. It is hard to explain, but in Statik, there were many puzzles I had no idea what to do. And I struggled a lot. But I never got frustrated, angry, upset and never wanted to quit. I can't say the same for ESPER. The puzzles in Statik and I Expect You to Die (and supposedly Salary Man Escape) are fun. ESPER's aren't. I can honestly say that throughout the entire game I didn't experience true "fun" one time. When you beat a level in Statik, you were in awe of the complexity and amazed that somehow you figured it out. In ESPER that complexity, that creativity, that "it" factor just isn't there.
With that being said, I don't want to talk too much trash about the game because it does have some good things going for it. First, it was very well developed. It works perfectly, no glitches, no problems, works great. So whether you like the game or not will be based off the game, not developmental flaws. Second, and honestly the best thing, is that the price point is great. $9 is perfect and honestly probably slightly under-priced for the game. It will only take you about 2 hours to beat it, but most games don't give you that payout. Third, many people love the game. So just because I am not on board, research some more and make your own decision, this is why having such a diverse group of reviewers is fun and beneficial.
ESPER is a well developed, yet uninspired true puzzler for the PSVR that doesn't do enough to set itself apart. It does possess great value and enjoyment for those who love puzzle games. If puzzlers aren't your thing, this is going to be a hard skip. Check out Statik, Salary Man Escape or others. With ESPER 2 coming out for other VR platforms I have read that they built upon the first version and it is better in every way. Let's hope we get a chance to test those statements.
PlayPSVR Score: 6