Friday 24 May 2019

Ghost Giant review: Otherworldly pleasure

PSVR ★★★★ Age: 7+

Ghost Giant
Ghost Giant
Snooker 19
Ronan Price

Ronan Price

When a game character suddenly starts spouting Sartre at you, you know you're not in Kansas any more. This delightful VR game has an otherworldly edge to it, not least because you play the spectral helper of a troubled boy who just wants to help his mum on the farm (um, possibly in Kansas).

By the time you meet the workaday philosopher telling us "Hell is other people", you've already befriended the boy and poked and prodded at the pseudo-papercraft landscape, all rolling hills and intricate dollhouses. Then it dawns on you Ghost Giant closely resembles a point-and-click adventure in VR.

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It sets you gentle puzzles solvable with your pair of giant hands -throw an object here, nudge an item there - or by blowing on the microphone to create wind. Half the fun stems from observing the townspeople just going about their business, muttering to themselves or, yes, quoting mid-20th century French thinkers.

The storyline is so subtly presented that some players may not even clock until near the end the underlying theme of mental health and the heartstring-tugging that's been going on all along.

Ghost Giant's lovingly crafted dioramas coupled with the thoughtful sound design help overcome the inevitable shortcomings of this genre - chiefly, the limitations of PSVR's tracking that lead to frustrating moments with the controls, and the brief running time.

Snooker 19

XO/PS4/PC ★★★ Age: 3+

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Snooker 19

Released to coincide with the annual orgy of balls and baize at the World Championships in Sheffield last week, Snooker 19 offers a straight-up version of the most laid-back game in sport.

It features accurate facsimiles of all the top players and venues, together with a sound version of the actual game against AI or in online multiplayer. It doesn't come without flaws, though, particularly the lack of aiming options enabling you to see the shot from all angles, including overhead.

The players themselves don't exhibit any discernible real-world personality (or as much as there is outside of Ronnie O'Sullivan anyway) and it can be quite dull to sit for several minutes just watching another player build a break.

But if you need a break from gaming's usual suspects, cue up some Snooker 19.

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