It has been a long time since I’ve said anything about the Gear VR. Back in the VR Giant days I was all about Gear VR but then Gear VR seemed to enter a dry spell. Every week I would check the games and, well, they just weren’t good. At least I didn’t think so. I was also focusing more on YouTube than on posting written reviews and it’s just easier to record from Rift. These two factors together had me almost entirely ignoring my Gear VR. However, lately there have been a number of games that have caught my attention again and I think they deserve some coverage. The first is Fail Factory.
Fail Factory is a game developed by Armature Studio and published by Oculus. If you pay attention to the Gear VR at all you have probably seen the trailer for the game. If you have and you are anything like me, you thought it looked like an entirely unremarkable game and had no idea what it was about. You could be forgiven for that because the trailer does a pretty bad job of showing what you actually do in the game.
When Fail Factory begins you are an intern at a factory and this purple blob monster thing with huge eyebrows and some sort of flying mech machine takes you through your training, which is basically the tutorial. He tells you that as an intern, it’s your job to do the stuff that no one else wants to do and then he sends you off to your first duty, grabbing blocks with a certain colour on them and throwing them into the receptacle with the corresponding colour on it. It’s pretty simple but surprisingly satisfying. The better you do, the more cogs you earn, which are basically like stars on most mobile games. You can get a maximum of four cogs on a level.
Other training duties include piloting one of the giant mechs the factory makes down a straight path, making sure to step on special tiles as you go; controlling a robot arm that is similar to one of those grab hook arcade games where you win stuffed animals, only here you are grabbing items off of a conveyor belt and dropping them into the recycling incinerator; and building robot components piece by piece, also with the robot arm. Once you have done these activities you are promoted and move past the training to the game proper.
The game proper has you doing the same activities as training, but with new twists thrown in. Now instead of just grabbing the coloured blocks, you have to pick them up and rotate them to find the side that is coloured before tossing it into the correct bin. They come two or more at a time now and there are two rounds per shift, the second round moving much faster than the first making for a much more frenetic game.
In training you piloted the robot mech thing down a straight path. Now you have twists and turns, cannons that fire at you, coloured balls that you have to smash, and more. What starts out feeling like it will be a pretty simple game ramps up in difficulty and, dare I say it, zaniness, pretty quickly.
All of this would be an absolute disaster if the controls weren’t so well done, but I can honestly say that I never felt like I was doing poorly due to unresponsive controls. Some activities just have you using the wand as a pointer, but when controlling the claw it is much more like a joystick and when controlling the mechs, it IS a pointer, but you point at the mech control panel to use the joysticks and buttons there. This sounds awful on paper, but controller the mech is my favourite part of the game. Fail Factory even understands that your remote might have drifted some and every couple of rounds it pauses to remind you to recenter before throwing you into another task. Obviously, it would be far better if it didn’t have to do that, but that’s a hardware problem, not software so this is a nice touch.
The graphics in Fail Factory are pretty simple, but simple works on Gear VR, and it’s the only style that I think would have worked for a game that is basically just silliness. Fail Factory is bright and cheerful and simply a joy to look at. There isn’t a lot of needless geometry bogging down the processor, so it runs smoothly without any frame drops. But you can generally expect that from the games Oculus puts their name on.
As for motion sickness, the only part of the game that might cause some is the transportation between jobs. It’s done via some sort of transport tube, but they are kind enough to block your view while rotation your…whatever you are on into the tube. I can’t imagine that too many people would get woozy from it, but if you’re extra sensitive you may need to close your eyes for a few seconds.
Fail Factory is a ton of fun and based on the leaderboard there doesn’t seem to be enough people playing it. When I closed the game last night I was in second place, which, if you’ve seen my review on the store page, is just not cool. The only time I’ve ever been at the top of the leaderboard before was when I got early access to Anshar Wars 2 Multiplayer mode and there were no other people to compete with aside from the testers. Fail Factory is $5.79 here in the Canadas, and honestly, that’s a steal for a game with this much polish. And with the dearth of worthwhile experiences on the store in the last several months, this is a game that definitely deserves a look.
Daryle Henry | Dads And Dragons
Oculus ID: theregoes2