Game Journal Week 05/18/2021 (Continuing)
Game 1: Art of Balancing
Art of Balancing is a game about rock balancing and self reflection on VR platform. I played it with Oculus Quest 1. It was developed by Ama Inc., founder of which was previously a classmate of mine.
Copy & paste of my review from Oculus Store:
I have never tried rock balancing in real life before and am glad that it's offered in VR where I don't have to physically go somewhere and find rocks. The concept of VR rock balancing combining with self reflection sessions using voice recording feels very novel and interesting.
There is a sense of tranquility/serene in the gameplay itself and in the virtual environment surrounding the player. I can definitely see myself playing such game to heal/self reflect/meditate/recalibrate. It's supposed to be a slow game with no pressure. On this, for me personally, I still felt that I was somewhat pressured to figure out that preset configuration in order to get that last rock aligned with the white outline. Maybe because I personally have a short temper, I found myself getting slightly frustrated easily when stacking the rocks. I think part of this was due to the existence of the preset objectives that the game was asking me to complete. The objectives were somewhat too *specific* that it made it too much of a puzzle than a meditative experience for me. This being said, having no prior experience with rock balancing, I bet people feel frustration too when doing it in real life. However I wonder if the rock balancers also carry a specific rock configuration/goal in mind when doing it in real life. I wish the objective was more vague(maybe reaching a certain height instead) so that I can just just stack rocks with little to no mental pressure.
On the mechanics itself, I really like how rock stacking/balancing feels like in the game. It requires some but not an demanding amount of attention and effort from player to put the rocks on top of each other. I think there is a lot of potential in the self reflection part and the game itself.
The introspective moments/questions I raised to myself while playing this game were very valuable and meaningful. Looking forward to see more.