Tethered PSvR: review

Have you ever wanted to be as powerful as a God, looking over and controlling everything with a click of your fingers? Well, now you can. In Tethered you are tasked with taking care of adorable little creatures called Peeps. They are very hard working and you must use their skills to collect resources, build up their village, and fully charge each island’s totem with spirit energy so that they can thrive from the land.

Each of the thirteen levels available lasts 30 minutes and begins on a different floating island that must be explored and inhabited by the Peeps. You begin with a single egg and the sun; by looking at the sun it can be tethered to the egg and the warmth from it will cause the egg to hatch. Out pops your first little Peep, who is entirely your responsibility to take care of. He will uncover the island’s totem which is a kind of base location where the Peeps will hoard all of your collected resources. The totem is also the key to completing every level as you’re required to collect enough spirit energy to fully charge it. Spirit energy is gained by performing different actions in the game; for instance, with every enemy slain a bunch of spirit energy is released into the air for you to collect.

The whole game is based on the VR control scheme of tethering; these controls are very simple to pick-up and play with as your head is basically a cursor and the only button used on the DualShock 4 is the X button to select the thing that you are looking at. You must tether each Peep to the thing that you’d like them to do. However, that being said VR is optional, as I played this both without the need for the ultra expensive PS VR headset.

There are a whole bunch of different resources for the Peeps to collect: wood, stone, ore, food, and crystals are just some. With these resources you are able to set a Peep to work constructing or upgrading a current building; the amount of upgrade and building options available is very impressive. You can build all the usual structures you’d expect in a strategy game, like a barracks, workshop, temple, farm, etc. Every time you build one of these it’ll unlock different professions for your Peeps. For example, for every barracks that you have, two of your Peeps can become warriors. This adds an excellent element of strategy to the game as you have to manage your resources and Peeps in order to prepare for the threat that the night brings with it.

The game is surprisingly calm and relaxing until the sun goes down. Every night a hoard of slug-like enemies will attempt to munch their way through your resources if they can make their way to your totem without being intercepted first. This is where your warrior Peeps will come into action using their clubs to fight off the attackers, however the slugs will pick on the closest Peep they can sink their teeth into. This can be very irritating as after a Peep has been attacked, he seems to forget what he was doing beforehand and so it requires you to tell him what he was doing again. This is by far the most annoying thing especially in the harder levels when you have more than a dozen Peeps that are all stood around looking lost and you can’t remember what they were doing either.
It’s a real shame that there isn’t an endless mode, where you can focus on building up one village; constantly expanding, upgrading, and hoarding lots of resources would have been a nice addition. Currently, in every level, you have to start from scratch, and occasionally it can feel a bit repetitive.The game’s presentation is beautiful, with rich and dense environments; the floating islands covered in flowers, grass, rocks, caves, rivers, and waterfalls look stunning. The Peeps are equally well presented with their adorably big soppy eyes and animations that will make you melt inside, like when they climb on top of another egg to sit on it and warm it up. They are impossible not to fall in love with, and that’s also why it’s so devastating when you accidentally neglect one of them. If this happens, then they will get so depressed that they slowly plod to the edge of the island, pausing just long enough for you to feel guilty, and then they will plummet into the clouds below.

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