[TEST] ISS RESCUE - Aim for the moon to land in the stars

Who I am
Michael Naimark
@michaelnaimark

Summary

  • General presentation of ISS RESCUE
  • Scenario from ISS RESCUE: we all have something in us from Gravity
  • Gameplay of ISS RESCUE: simple and effective
    • The War of the Buttons
    • Elementary puzzles
  • Lifespan and quality / price ratio of ISS RESCUE: 39 euros for 40 minutes of play
  • Graphics and soundtrack for ISS RESCUE: “Houston, we don't have a problem”
  • Immersion of ISS RESCUE: head in the stars, but feet on the ground
  • Comfort of ISS RESCUE: no nausea, but a little sore nose
  • ISS RESCUE against the competition
  • Conclusion of the ISS RESCUE test
    • Good points
    • Negative points
    • 6.1

In the process of being created for a year, ISS RESCUE is the result of collaboration between I-Way and Myoken rooms. After a call for tenders for the first and a successful test for the second, the project for a VR experience could be launched. Better known for its simulations (F1, fighter planes, GP motorcycles, etc.) and its Room escapes, the Lyon company is taking on a new challenge. At the heart of this experience, the desire to immerse the player in a space simulation, without forgetting the game. So, objective achieved or failure of the mission? Answer in this test.



General presentation of ISS RESCUE

Game modes : 1 to 6 people
Availability : January 31, 2018, by reservation (from 12 years old)
Price : From 39 euros / person (only for a reservation of minimum 4 people)
Junior Backend Developer (Intern) : Myoken
Game genre : Spatial simulation / indoor VR experience
Helmet used: HTC Vive
Location : 4 Rue Jean Marcuit, 69009 Lyon



Scenario from ISS RESCUE: we all have something in us from Gravity

With its scenario, Myoken and I-Way make it clear to us that we are not not in front of the main interest of the game. From his briefing (carried out in reality by a “game master”), we are assured that it is a routine mission, without any danger. Obviously, nothing goes as planned and players will soon find themselves stranded outside the International Space Station. They will then have to face several trials and small puzzles to save the ISS as well as their skin. By the very admission of Pierre Nicolas, the founder of I-Way, the team particularly inspired by the Gravity and Appolo 13 films. An influence that we feel especially in the story, but also in the production (we will come back to this).

Gameplay of ISS RESCUE: simple and effective

With the goal of making players feel the practices of an astronaut, Myoken faces a daunting challenge. You have to avoid commands that are too complex, on the other hand, but also not to make them too simple and uninteresting. The company is successful in its bet, despite a finally quite limited number of actions. You can obviously use your hands to interact with objects with a pull of the trigger, but that's not all. We must first talk about bracelet that we recover at the start of the game. This acts as menu, which gives us access to most of the possibilities offered by the game. By touching it, a hologram divided into four parts, each proposing an action.


The War of the Buttons

The first three have simple functions. With the first one, one can move through the station in selecting a destination on the map which appears. Note that we do not teleport, but move by “sliding” once the location has been chosen, a line indicating the way. Regarding the other two, one offers the possibility of call on Houston, the game master present during each session. This one will then give advice if participants get stuck or don't know what to do. The other allows see where our teammates are.


The most important command is undoubtedly the one giving access to the PGT (Pistol-Grip Tool), a tool resembling a pistol. No question of shooting here, except in a single phase as short as it is of little interest. Its real use is twofold: it allows both (un) screw and seal the holes. Because if the context of the routed ISS is epic, your quest comes down to repairing the station. To do this, you will have to fill the leaks that run through the hull and open panels to solve puzzles.

Elementary puzzles

The repairs are not very complicated, but require a good team cohesion and above all, listening to the objectives. It is enough in fact not to pay attention to the starting instructions to get lost, which risks happening to the novices. It is also necessary take into account some bugs, some of them very disturbing. We think in particular of essential objects disappearing behind the decor, preventing a repair from being completed.


These few worries aside, puzzles are not a real problem as long as we are careful. It is above all the communication (by microphones) with his teammates that offers a real challenge. It is necessary succeed in coordinating, especially since we are quickly divided into two teams. It is thus a pity that the voice of Houston, which gives the objectives, is often covered by various sounds.

Lifespan and quality / price ratio of ISS RESCUE: 39 euros for 40 minutes of play

For a virtual reality experience without a break, reach the 40 minutes is quite rare. ISS Rescue succeeds, however, in any case for players less in a hurry or those less used to VR. It is necessary all the same count around 30 minutes for the most gifted, a very honorable time for an attraction.


It is therefore rather on the side of the price that we must look for a downside. And the latter does not do the wallet any good: 39 euros per person for a session. Almost a euro a minute. If the sum is explained by the place and the means put in place (400 square meters allocated), it remains expensive for individuals. We think in particular of those who will come to less than four, since the price then drops to 59 euros for one person.

Graphics and soundtrack for ISS RESCUE: “Houston, we don't have a problem”

If there is one area in which ISS RESCUE stands out, it is through its graphics and soundtrack. In these areas, we again find the great influence of the Gravity and Appolo 13 films. The music is particularly in the spotlight, with symphonies revealing cinematic inspirations. We could regret the lack of sound effects, but those present (mechanism, pressurization, etc.) reinforce immersion.

Made with l‘Unreal Engine 4, the scenes offered by ISS RESCUE are also beautiful. If we deplore some light blurry passages due to the helmet, they do not spoil the images in any way. There is no risk of forgetting the sunrise at the start of the experience or the various areas of the resort. Except some rare texture bugs, one could almost speak of faultless for Myoken's game.

Immersion of ISS RESCUE: head in the stars, but feet on the ground

When we know that immersion was the main concern of I-Way and Myoken, we can speak of an objective achieved. From the introduction of the game, we forget that we are in a simple room to find oneself in space. As said above, the sound effects play a lot on this feeling, despite their lack of presence. With its beautiful graphics and the faithful replica of the ISS, the feeling of being an astronaut is all the stronger.

This impression is unfortunately regularly damaged by various bugs of controllers. If catching objects is not a problem, sometimes we end up with literally tangled arms. It is also enough to turn your head too much to end up with a helmet that does not know what to do or what to look at. As a result obstructed visionluckily for only a few seconds. Succeed in get bogged down in partners when you are in the same place does not help either.

Comfort of ISS RESCUE: no nausea, but a little sore nose

On the comfort side, ISS RESCUE is a messiah for those who do not want to teleport in VR, but are sensitive to nausea. Here, no motion sickness to remember, despite a displacement in space which does not follow that of the body. This success is due to the indication of the path that our character will take. We instinctively prepare to turn or go up, thus blocking any sickness.

Still, we can't help but be embarrassed by the headset after a while. Blame it on the length of the experience, which is longer than most of the other attractions. However, we are only talking about a slight inconvenience that we do not pay much attention to if we immerse ourselves in the game.

ISS RESCUE against the competition

There are a large number of escape games, but much less in virtual reality. To finally discover one that offers an experience similar to that of ISS RESCUE, you have to dig a little further. And in this area, its biggest competitor is undoubtedly Eclipse de Virtual Adventure.

We are therefore also talking about a space adventure, but this time much more SF oriented. This adventure stands out first of all from its opponent by the use of a VR backpack. We move like this much more freely than with the headset attached to a cable from ISS RESCUE. Just like the latter, Eclipse is accessible from 12 years old and lasts about forty minutes. On the other hand, we cannot play at 4 (against 6 for the I-Reality game) and fewer rooms are available. However, those of Virtual Adventure take advantage of ground vibrations and air blasts for an even more intense immersion. Price wise, the experience is accessible between 21 and 35 euros per person.

Conclusion of the ISS RESCUE test

ISS RESCUE keeps many of its promises. Its graphics and soundtrack honor the resources put in place and offer an experience that you won't soon forget. You can easily get caught up in your world, while playing comfortably, which makes the entertainment all the more enjoyable. So he is pity that a number of bugs spoil this experience (without ruining it). While they are not ubiquitous, they are disturbing enough to prevent total immersion.

In its gameplay, ISS RESCUE offers a accessible exercise, but still requiring good team coordination. If a few bugs put their two cents in and make certain actions imperfect, it is not easily overlooked. Offering a few puzzles a little too simple, the production of Myoken remains a pleasant entertainment for young and old. However, we will blame him for a high price, especially with a reduced number of players.

Good points

Negative points

6.1

Scenario : The scenario is intended to be extremely basic. The game comes in the line of disaster scenarios dear to many directors. We can easily spot the influence of the film Gravity and its spectacular scenes. The story is not really at the heart of the experience, it is difficult to speak of a defect, but it is not a good point either.

gameplay : The gameplay of ISS RESCUE is very simple and accessible to all. A person who has never touched virtual reality will quickly find his bearings. We can however regret the few possible interactions with the environment. As for the puzzles, they are not very complicated, but are still fun.

Durée de vie : With 40 minutes of play for the less fast, ISS RESCUE offers an appreciable lifespan for a VR attraction. If you don't discover anything more by playing the game again, you appreciate the first experience and you don't see the time passing.

Quality / price ratio : A big negative point of this VR escape game. If we reserve for at least four people, the price comes to 39 euros per player. Almost 1 euro per minute, which is very high despite the qualities of the experience. It's even worse when you want to play with less than four, since you go to 59 euros per person. Way too high for 40 minutes of play.

Graphics and soundtrack : In its graphics and soundtrack, ISS RESCUE defends itself very well. Certain scenes mark the spirits, whether it is through our eyes or our ears. We think in particular of the sunrise or the incident at the station which we have in mind for a while.

Immersion : You are very easily transported by the game. IN a few seconds, you completely forget the presence of a room around you. That's why we are disappointed when bugs take us out of the game. With just a few adjustments, ISS RESCUE could perfect its immersion.

Navigation comfort : Standing for 40 minutes is rarely pleasant, especially with a helmet that ends up crushing your nose a bit. Despite everything, we have a good time with this game, especially since it has found its solution to avoid motion sickness. While the comfort isn't perfect, it's above a lot of other VR attractions.

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