VR still feels like fledgling technology, particularly in gaming. Developers are creating new ways to play old favourites – from platforming in a new perspective in Astrobot to first-person shooters like Borderlands 2 VR, but many of these are predominantly solo experiences.
Because of the way VR locks your attention away from the outside world, it can be tricky to build something for more than one player, and short of the initial PlayStation VR demo disc, it’s rare for a developer to try it.
Enter Steel Crate games, a small studio who’s first project, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes is an excellent party game to play with friends and family with or without VR.
The concept is simple: one player must disarm an array of increasingly complex explosive devices, while other plays issue instructions. The catch is that the player disarming the bomb can see what it looks like, but no one else can.
What follows is a frantic, time-based challenge of ascertaining which of the randomly assigned modules are on the bomb and how to deal with it, as other players in the room use a “Bomb Manual” on their phone, tablet, or any other device with a web browser.
As an example, one bomb module may offer a series of wires. Depending on the number of wires, the procedure for disarming that module will differ. As an example, a module with four wires will offer up instructions such as these:
“If there is more than one red wire and the last digit of the serial number is odd, cut the last red wire.
Otherwise, if the last wire is yellow and there are no red wires, cut the first wire.
Otherwise, if there is exactly one blue wire, cut the first wire.
Otherwise, if there is more than one yellow wire, cut the last wire.
Otherwise, cut the second wire”
As you can imagine, when the time is ticking and the pressure is on it can be a frantic race to relay instructions. Bombs will allow three mistakes, after which they’ll detonate early, so there’s a constant challenge – especially when you’re on strike three.
These modules also grow in complexity and number, so while the first bomb may require just two puzzles, others will require more and more. Bombs also change from one encounter to the next.
While Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes was released on non-VR platforms (including mobile), it feels ideal to play in PlayStation VR for two reasons. For one, blocking one player’s view of their teammates instructions increases the pressure, and for another, each bomb can be rotated and inspected much more closely in VR. As things progress and things like serial numbers and batteries come into play, it can be a huge advantage to look so closely at the puzzle.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes – The Verdict: 5/5
Reviewed on PSVR
If you have PlayStation VR, Keep Talking And Nobody Explodes should be on your wishlist. It’s the kind of game that’s perfect for a night in with friends and offers incredible replayability thanks to it’s randomly created explosives.
If you’re looking for some tense, co-op action, look no further. Just be sure to keep a cool head.
– Great party game
– Near infinite combination of bomb parts
– While playable in non-VR, it loses some of the magic