Despite the lines, I was able to try Project Morpheus, Sony’s virtual reality helmet, at PlayStation Experience this past weekend. It was an enlightening and educational experience in which I learned two things. First, VR tech still has a few minor hitches to overcome. Second, don’t defuse bombs unless you know what you’re doing.
Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes is a two player game. One person wears Project Morpheus, or an Oculus Rift, and the other holds a manual telling how to defuse every kind of module on a bomb. The person wearing the helmet can see and interact with the bomb, but only the person with the instructions knows how to keep it from exploding.
The tech was pretty impressive, and not only because it really worked quite well to create a realistic environment. My glasses didn’t get in the way when I was using Project Morpheus. I was concerned the headset wouldn’t take them into account, keeping me from every using it. It also felt much lighter than I expected. I’m sure it would weigh on me if I were playing a game like Dragon Age: Inquisition or Uncharted 4 with it, but it was perfectly acceptible for a shorter game like Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes.
Unfortunately, one problem quickly appeared once the headset was on and Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes began. For some reason, everything began shifting to the right. I was looking straight ahead, but the perspective seemed to be moving. It got to the point where I had to keep tilting my head to properly look at the bomb.
When it came to the actual game, Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes worked perfectly. It was clear that precise descriptions were necessary to get things done, but I quickly learned that having a general idea of how modules work is critical as well.
A bomb is randomly generated and the easiest one had three modules. The key is to describe each one as best as possible for the person with the guide, so he or she can tell you what needs to be done. For example, the first module I looked at had four horizontal wires, with the first being white, the second black, and the last two also white. The kind, wire positions and wire colors told my partner what kind it was, so he could tell me which one to safely cut.
The other two modules were as easy to conquer. One had a white button labeled “Abort.” The key for getting past it was to hold the button, then release it when the timer had a “1” in it. The final box had four buttons with pictograms on it – a horseshoe, a diagonal line with two hashmarks through it, an ae smushed together, and an image that looked like a backwards E. Describing them accurately allowed him to tell me the correct order to press them and defuse the situation.
Sound easy? Well, the Normal difficulty level quickly showed it wasn’t. I was entrusted with the manual, and I couldn’t understand this one wire box. It had the numbers 1, 2, and 3 on one side, A, B, and C on the other, and wires going between the two. When I asked if they were red, blue, or black, he said black, but it seemed they weren’t connected to the proper parts. Plus, the manual said first, second, third, fourth, and so on.
Neither of us had encountered this situation, so of course the bomb exploded. There was no frame of reference. Once the directions were explained, it was easier to understand, but we both quickly learned from a member of the Steel Crate Games team that this particular module is one of the most difficult in the game. We didn’t stand a chance.
If you play Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes, respect the bomb. Don’t choose Normal until you’ve played a few rounds as the defuser and the describer on Easy. Also, make sure your headset is properly configured.