White Door Games is preparing its title Dreadhalls for use with Oculus motion controllers and we have had the opportunity to take a look at a preliminary version, we comment on our impressions.
Dreadhalls is one of the virtual reality experiences that has been around for the longest time, specifically since the early days of the Oculus DK1. Its creator, Sergio Hidalgo, told us that his intention was not to make a scary game but an exploration game, but when he noticed that he himself was getting scared exploring the dungeons he decided to change the theme, and thanks to this Dreadhalls got an honorable mention in the VR Jam organized by Oculus in 2013. Since that moment, it has earned recognition in its own right as one of the first horror classics of virtual reality, and continued to evolve through the DK2 to finally land on Gear VR as one of the launch titles. However, in White Door Games they did not forget their origins and the game also reached the commercial version of Oculus Rift, with a very similar mechanics to that of Gear VR but with a noticeably superior graphic quality.
Oculus Touch has been a month between us, and the team of Sergio Hidalgo has decided to adapt the game to the motion controller Oculus, although without modifying the mechanical original Dreadhalls: the objective remains to find the exit of a series of dungeons generated randomly while we avoid the scary creatures that roam them and collect a series of objects that we will facilitate the task, or will provide us information about the place.
The control with Oculus Touch is still the same as with the Xbox One controller: we move with the Left Touch stick and rotate with the right one, but this time the interaction with the elements will be done with our hands. The first thing is to configure which will be our main hand, depending on whether we are right-handed or left-handed. To open a door, we will have to turn the main hand several times until we unlock the lock. In that same hand we will carry the map, which will appear when we press a Touch button, something that solves the problem of the original game that many times the map appeared when looking down even if we didn’t want it. And with that same hand we will be able to collect the different objects that we find by pressing the trigger: lockpicks, bottles of oil for the lamp, coins and handwritten texts.
In the secondary hand we will carry the lantern, and when moving it we will cast shadows in real time, a feeling that can be quite scary in certain rooms and that contributes to the realism of the experience. To recharge it, we will use the main hand to select a new bottle of oil from our inventory, and from there we will collect it to drag it and physically introduce it into the lantern, something that can be overwhelming if we move in a hurry when being chased by any of the creatures of the game. By the way, the images we show you belong to a beta and it is still possible that we will see some changes and improvements in the appearance of the hands when the final version is released.
Oculus Touch is not a revolution for Dreadhalls, since it is a game designed for gamepad and no teleportation or a new game mechanic specific to Touch has been added, but the existing interactions have been adapted to use our hands. Even so, Touch users who already own the game will appreciate the possibility of using the controllers, since the fact of seeing our hands always brings a plus of realism to the experiences, and the use of the lantern and the projection of shadows when moving it also contributes to that feeling. We think it’s great that White Door Games have decided to update the game to be able to use Touch instead of leaving it anchored on the gamepad forever. From what we have been able to prove in this preliminary version, the experience gains a lot in immersion without losing its essence.