Going back to those times when you used to fall over so much, it’s time to put on the indoor helmet once more for this Down the Rabbit Hole PSVR review.
Of course, you don’t have to wear the helmet, but I’d encourage it as this is an enchanting world you should experience outside the one you usually occupy.
Wherever that may be.
Down the Rabbit Hole is a virtual reality reimagining of the Lewis Carroll classic, Alice in Wonderland told in the style of a diorama.
However, instead of sloppy seconds, your character exists in a world before Alice.
Starting with that infamous white rabbit, join me in a…
… Down The Rabbit Hole PSVR Review
I think Brian Blessed should read these review intros. I wonder how much he charges per hour?
If you were to reimagine a world from literature, Alice in Wonderland is a source material full of potential, but it’s been overly done and rehashed with tosh like the Tim Burton movies.
Cortopia Studios have taken those familiar themes and characters and arranged a slight reworking of the story so that it echoes the beloved characters but as an individual piece.
Setting the footsteps for Alice to follow later, you fall down the rabbit hole and bump into White Rabbit.
Of course, he’s late as usual, but with your gate crashing, you’ve sent the Queen of Hearts’ party invites airborne and you must collect them if you want to keep your head.
Your character, however, has their agenda and trying to locate their cat Patches, then promptly returning to Oz.
Well, you do have a choice.
More Lairs Than An Onion
Each domain in the game is formed around the rabbit hole, and every little room or alcove spirals around meaning a workout for your neck, or you can reposition the camera each time with the options button.
The visuals struck me immediately, as Down the Rabbit Hole is exhibited like a children’s diorama; an interactive display you could see in a museum.
You move the girl using the analogue stick directly, and she can interact with items and puzzles with the X button.
By default, the camera will switch back to a first-person perspective so you can explore your surroundings and solve the puzzles that are throughout.
My first encounter with a puzzle was infuriating as no matter what I did; I could not progress – there were zero hints, and it was an illogical clock puzzle.
After a borderline tantrum on how unfair the world is, I leaned forward and located a clock around the corner of my peripheral vision: puzzle instantly solved!
It reeled it back in how long ago my last VR game was, and I forgot how interactive they could be.
Taking that into consideration, you need to explore every location thoroughly as over half of my short playthrough was locating the collectable invites.
By the time you finish the puzzles (a couple of hours or so), you meet up with the Mad Hatter, and he asks for the invites.
Realising that I didn’t have them all, he still gave me a choice to progress, but I couldn’t bear it and had to locate them all, so back I went.
Some of the locations are slightly obvious; others rely on your observation skills or luck.
In the early stages of the game, you get an additional character who accompanies you to help solve a few puzzles, who is also invaluable in locating all of the invites.
I didn’t finish the game without all the invites, so unsure if the game can still be completed, but as it’s quite brief, I wanted to get the most out of it and ended up 100% finishing the game before lunch.
Despite the run time, it was totally worth it.
While the story doesn’t expand too much on the Alice in Wonderland lore, it does touch on a few themes and gives you the option to shape your character by choosing their name, favourite colour and a couple more.
The real stand out here is the experience.
Interaction with the NPCs, as well as the narration was excellent and judging on the number of games that I cover, Down the Rabbit Hole has some superb best voice acting.
There’s one actor who does a large number of voices, but he shines throughout, as does the lead character.
I never really had any connection with the Alice in Wonderland story growing up, but can relate to a lot of the themes and this iteration is one of the best.
It lacks the trippy clusterfunk that is the Disney animation and also the Tim Burton films, and it isn’t as abstract and surreal as Jan Svankmajer’s Alice.
But those are all good things – the latter is one of my favourite interpretations and when it comes to the videogame world, Down the Rabbit Hole is up there.
On the downside, there were a few too many alerts popping up saying I had left the playing area when I had hardly moved.
I thought it was a PSVR fault, but it only happened here – not that it ruined the experience.
Down the Rabbit Hole a little short-lived and the backtracking and Easter egg hunt for the invitations had its ups and downs, but arguably one of the better ways to experience this magical sandpit.
If it weren’t for my enjoyment exploring this ethereal world, then it was the smile it put upon my wife’s face as I rotated the DualShock in the air, mouth fully open and drooling why working a clock puzzle, little knowing how much of a tool I appeared to be.
The subsequent photos didn’t help either.
A review code was supplied for this game, and while I wasn’t offered a VIP room smoking with a caterpillar, I would have taken it. Instead, this review is all the product of mah own mind.
- Beautiful storybook presentation.
- Puzzle challenge is just right.
- Excellent voice acting.
- Quite short.
- Lots of backtracking to find items.
- Doesn't delve too deep into the narrative.