Review- Riven VR Is a Noble VR Endeavor
Image via Cyan Worlds

Review: Riven Remake Is a Noble VR Endeavor

Even if a VR adaptation of a game isn’t perfect, sometimes it feels worthwhile due to the nature of it and effort put into making it work. Riven is a great example. We already know the game is a fantastic and beloved adventure. The core of the experience is tried and true. The VR adaptation of Riven at times is incredibly impressive on the Meta Quest 3, especially if you played the original game in the 1990s, even if there are some issues with loading, textures, and properly keeping notes to help you on your way.

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Riven picks up after the events of Myst, but the execution is such that someone unfamiliar with the lore could jump in and appreciate the puzzles and adventure without knowing all about Atrus, Gehn, and the nature of the linking books in the world. The important thing to know is Atrus seeks the player’s help in saving his kidnapped wife Catherine from his father Gehn, who brought her into the collapsing world known as the Age of Riven. Since Atrus needs to try and keep the world stable, it is up to those of us playing to head in, find Catherine, and imprison Gehn, solving many puzzles along the way.

While Riven began its life as a point-and-click adventure, the VR version succeeds in making it feel a bit more like a traditional adventure game filled with puzzles. You’ll explore the five islands in the world, solving puzzles that help you proceed, learn more about the situation, and carry on. It’s a much more tactile experience on the Meta Quest 3, which suits the game even better than I expected. After all, you need to look through environments and interact with what you find to constantly learn more about the age. The controls feel natural. The puzzles and nature of it all is also very freeing, with someone left to essentially learn by doing, which makes it feel even more satisfying when you see the influence your actions have.

However, I experienced many moments when I honestly would have preferred to be playing Riven in a more traditional way and not in VR on my Meta Quest 3. Some of it involved the pitfalls that can come from VR games in general. That is, your degree of comfort may vary, and I found it wasn’t as good as accommodating my needs and warding off potential motion-sickness as Asgard’s Wrath 2. (I still consider that the pinnacle of comfort in VR adventuring.) This is a your mileage may vary sort of issue, as others might feel more at ease with it. Plus, you can mitigate it by playing in shorter sessions. However, the extent of it can also depend on the randomized solutions for some puzzles or how observant you are when figuring out what items to find and use. 

Which brings me to the more pervasive issue with Riven in VR on the Meta Quest headsets. In the more traditional and PC versions of the game, I always felt like it was fairly easy to see when I’d need to find especially notable objects or switches in the game. I also played both Myst and Riven with actual physical notebooks by me, so I could jot down places or things I needed to remember. These are really thoughtful games that demand a lot of your attention. You need to be able to remember and reference things easily. While I could take screenshots of moments to help recall things I needed to know, it pales in comparison to taking more detailed notes. It isn’t as easy to keep track of what I’m doing. I did find myself actually sitting down while playing at one point, taking notes on paper as I played, and it ruined the immersion and moment as I kept taking the headset on and off. (Not to mention it ended up being a bit disorienting!)

If you can get past those things, Riven is really something in VR. Especially since it generally looks really great. Cyan Worlds and Starry Expanse Project did a fantastic job of turning the original game into an actual world we can move through and explore. There is occasionally a loading issue with some elements of the world, not to mention when you’re actually getting into things. I did notice some textures might not look as good as others, and it does feel a bit like some of the personality of the characters is lost with the new models that needed to be used. But considering the age of Riven and the feats needed to bring this VR version to life, it feels like a small price to pay for something that does look and feel as immersive as it does. Not to mention, it’s a testament to how enduring the design of the original game was.

Riven may not be perfect on the Meta Quest 3, but the VR version is worth experiencing if you love the game and series. Considering what needed to be done to bring it to life, it feels incredible to actually be walking around the Age of Riven’s five islands. It’s enough to make me forgive the smaller technical issues and shift to character models from FMV. However, it can be more difficult to play due to it not being as easy to keep track of what you’re doing and work out solutions in optimal fashions, especially since the nature of the medium could mean you’ll have some trouble finding what you are looking for or interact with to proceed.

Riven is available on the Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3, and PC and Mac with VR support.


Uncover a story of intrigue, betrayal, and a civilization teetering on the brink of collapse as you solve intricate puzzles to unlock the secrets of Riven. Built from the ground-up and expanded from the award-winning original game released in 1997. Meta Quest 3 version reviewed. Review copy provided by company for testing purposes.

Riven may not be perfect on the Meta Quest 3, but the VR version is worth experiencing if you love the game and series.

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Jenni Lada
Jenni is Editor-in-Chief at Siliconera and has been playing games since getting access to her parents' Intellivision as a toddler. She continues to play on every possible platform and loves all of the systems she owns. (These include a PS4, Switch, Xbox One, WonderSwan Color and even a Vectrex!) You may have also seen her work at GamerTell, Cheat Code Central, Michibiku and PlayStation LifeStyle.