20. Nov, 2016
- PSN Download
- PS4 Pro
- PlayStation VR Required
- DualShock 4 Required (1)
- PlayStation Move None
Format: PSN (3.18 GB)
Release Date: October 25, 2016
Publisher: Secret Sorcery Limited
Developer: Secret Sorcery Limited
Original MSRP: $32.99 (US), €29.99 (EU), £24.99 (UK)
ESRB Rating: E10+
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
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You look upon a land floating high in the sky. A lone egg falls from above and with the help of some sunshine, a little cute creature hatches. This strange hapless thing is called a Peep and it needs your help and guidance.
More eggs eventually fall from the sky and if left, will turn from a nice blue to a nasty brown before an ugly slug bursts out of them and slithers to the dark underside of the floating island. Sunshine cannot turn a brown egg back, only a Peep can, it will climb on top and sit for a short time. Soon after, the egg will turn back to blue and it will begin to hatch.
The little Peeps need to be fed and kept busy. They really hate waiting around and it makes them very sad, suicidal in fact. These cute little critters will eventually take a long walk off a short ledge and plunge into the unknown below. They give you one last desperate look of despair before they step off the edge and it’s a really horrible sight to witness.
Only by combining randomly appearing sunshine and rain clouds to form a rainbow will you be able to restore the happiness of a suicidal Peep if tethered to it. These various weather formations can also make things grow, freeze a patch of water, add armour, and much more. Like the elusive sunshine over Britain, these formations do not stay for long and must be used whenever possible.
… building up their armor and equipping them with bombs …
Spirit energy needs to be collected to fill a totem that the Peeps worship and store all the supplies in as well. The amount of energy needed depends on the level and can be produced from almost every action the little creatures do. The most energy comes from killing the horrible slug creatures.
The ugly slugs slither up onto the once peaceful land when the sun goes down. They attack anything they get close enough to, including your little creatures. A Peep can usually dispatch one or two slugs before dying, so building up their armor and equipping them with bombs can prolong their life.
Annoyingly this is where my one issue with the game rears its ugly head. When a Peep attacks a slug it forgets what it was doing before. It’s not a big problem in the early levels when you only have a few things to keep track of, but later on in the game, it becomes very troublesome.
Upgrading buildings, fields, mines, and almost anything a Peep interacts with can help massively, and many things have a few different choices that help in very different ways. You can change a cornfield to a pumpkin patch so it grows at night and keeps food coming round the clock, or go for potatoes that last longer.
… disgusting slugs slither and creep along …
The feeling that you are playing god with these adorable things and their cute mannerisms only adds to the heartache when one of them is killed or takes its own life. Controls are well thought out and I have only had a few instances of not being able to select the Peep or thing I wanted straight away. Looking at it from a different angle, or just leaning my head, has solved the problem every time.
With thirteen levels, this is a game that will keep you going for a decent amount of time. The early levels can take anywhere between fifteen and twenty minutes while some later levels can take much longer than that. You are ranked on several factors at the end of each level and it will take some doing to get top marks.
Tethered has excellent graphics that look great in VR. Being able to physically look around and control the cute creatures by looking at them and pressing a button on the DualShock works very well.
When you glance down at a Peep, it will look up at you with its big eyes in a loving gaze. The disgusting slugs slither and creep along oblivious to your presence and snap and snarl at your devoted followers.
… the chilling cry as they plunge into the abyss …
The smallest details make the game wonderful to look at, my favorite things being the lit candle stuck on a miner’s hat, butterflies dancing in the breeze, and when a Peep hatches from an egg, shaking off little bits of the shell. I even like the way the slugs move along and a small part of me wishes they left a slimy trail.
Spirit energy needs to be sucked into your view by holding down a button and looking at the small blue orbs until they are pulled into you like the last delicious remnants of a milkshake being slurped up a straw.
A gentle melody plays during the day and then changes to an ominous and harrowing tune at night. You will know when a Peep is contemplating ending it all and will definitely hear the chilling cry as they plunge into the abyss below.
The Peeps make a few little unintelligible sounds as they go about their business, hammering away at rocks, strolling to the forest, and even clubbing a horrible slug to death. The tiny yelps as a tornado picks them up and whisks them across the land like Dorothy and Toto always make me smile.
This game is singleplayer only with no online component.
Tethered could easily be dismissed as a cute and silly little game from the screenshots though it is anything but. What the developers at Secret Sorcery have managed to do is hide a deep and tense strategic god game in a beautiful and charming archipelago in the sky.
The excellent and simple control scheme immersed me so much in the delightful game that I reached out to try to catch a Peep as it plummeted into the abyss. If you think it’s too cute and childish for you to enjoy, then you are missing one of the best PlayStation VR games on the Store today.
This is a great example of how PlayStation VR is changing the landscape of gaming and I cannot wait to see what comes next.
* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.