Flow Weaver Analysis
Escape rooms have become all the rage in the last decade, with all kinds of escape room experiences readily available across the United States and around the world. Some escape rooms are known for their use of virtual reality technology, and so it’s only natural that escape room experiences are developed for consumer-grade VR headsets as well. There are several escape room VR experiences for fans to choose from, but one they should avoid is the recently released Flow Weaver on the Oculus Quest. Flow Weaver is a stationary VR experience, which seems at odds with the spirit of an escape room. The fun thing about escape rooms is being able to explore them, talk to different objects and try to figure out how to solve the puzzles. The main character in Flow Weaver is a sorceress stuck in place thanks to magic binding them to one place, and to put it simply, that doesn’t make for a very entertaining escape room experience. It doesn’t help that the default stationary border isn’t wide enough to properly accommodate the times when players have to reach to interact with objects, so they still have to make their own custom Guardian at the border. While the player character remains in place, he is still able to interact with the world around him thanks to the magical spells he acquires throughout the game. One of the first things the witch learns is that it allows her to pick up distant objects and bring them closer to her, which is a very basic gameplay mechanic often used in many VR games by default. Unfortunately, this sets the tone for the rest of the spells the sorceress gets in the game. Most of his abilities are little more than pointing and clicking on objects, which makes for a pretty dull time. There are no cool magic spells for players to look forward to in Flow Weaver, which means that progressing through the game isn’t very satisfying and there’s no real reward for solving its puzzles. The only thing Flow Weaver gives players for completing its puzzles is the chance to move on to the next puzzle until they reach the end and are treated to one of the weirdest, most abrupt endings in all of gaming. This will leave players feeling shortchanged and disappointed that they invested their time in the game. Flow Weaver’s story sees the sorceress character trying to figure out how to break out of her magic spell, which a necromancer apparently cast on her to look like a humanoid dinosaur. Despite this strange premise, the story is boring, nothing happens, and the conclusion is insulting, making it a complete waste of time to try to get invested in what’s going on. What’s worse is that players can’t skip cut-scenes. The unskippable cutscenes and dialogue in Flow Weaver are somewhat tolerated by the game’s surprisingly good voice acting, but the goodwill is tarnished when considering its confusing save/checkpoint system and game-breaking bugs. Flow Weaver’s autosaves are placed in strange places, sometimes sending players back to an entire puzzle room and forcing them to sit through dialogue they’ve already discussed. This issue rears its ugly head when players decide to take a break from the game and come back later, which is bad enough, but it’s also a huge problem when players are forced to restart due to bug. Flow Weaver sometimes fails to load the next event required for players to progress, sometimes leaving them stuck somewhere and forcing a restart. This seems to happen most often when the necromancer shows up in monologue. After they talk, they should disappear and let players continue trying to solve the puzzles, but sometimes they stay in place, and there doesn’t seem to be any way to fix the problem other than restarting the game. Even if Flow Weaver didn’t have these serious technical issues, it still wouldn’t be a compelling gameplay experience. The puzzles are rarely difficult because they are clever, but rather because the thing players need to move on is hard to find. An early example of this was when players had to pull a branch from an arch and use that to light some candles elsewhere. The branch joins other branches that can’t be interacted with, and while players can use the ability to point to important objects in the environment, it’s still not always obvious what they can interact with and what isn’t. they can’t. What happens is players find themselves clicking around the game world hoping to find something they can grab to complete the puzzle. Flow Weaver has an interesting gameplay idea, and thus it lets players jump between dimensions. From the material world, players can visit a Fairy world, a Shadow world, the Underworld, and more. These are all different versions of the room in the material world, and actions taken in one dimension can affect another. The game’s more engaging puzzles revolve around this concept, and it can be fun to experiment and see what happens. Unfortunately, the Flow Weaver is very rigid and linear in nature, so this concept doesn’t reach its full potential. Players will almost certainly get stuck trying to solve Flow Weaver’s puzzles, so it will likely take some time to complete the game. However, if one is quick at solving puzzles and they don’t encounter any game-breaking bugs, it’s reasonable to complete Flow Weaver in an hour or less. Many VR games are on the shorter side, but this is shorter than usual, and so it’s something VR enthusiasts should keep in mind. The Flow Weaver’s short length is the least of its problems. While it has some interesting ideas, it’s not fun to play and often feels like a chore. The voice acting and art style are both attractive, but not enough to justify a playthrough. There are far better escape room experiences available for virtual reality headsets that fans of the concept should consider checking out instead. Flow Weaver is available for Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2. Today Technology reviewed the game on Oculus Quest.