This month I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely people at Vertigo Games to come and have a go on their two latest VR titles, A Fisherman’s Tale and Skyworld. This was particularly exciting for me as not only was I granted permission to leave my subterranean dwellings for the afternoon but also experience VR for the first time in over twenty years.

Yes, twenty years.

The last time I had a go was in Sega World London, and that closed down in 1999. I remember the game being TecWar, but I can’t be 100% certain. Apart from my usual social anxieties, I was feeling slightly apprehensive as in the last few years anytime I have got dizzy it has gone straight into full-blown nausea often leading to very messy scenes involving a crying grown man usually in public places. I can happily report that after a couple of hours of nonstop gameplay I only felt a minor twinge as I came back to reality

I was given the opportunity to play both A Fisherman’s Tale and Skyworld in that order, and both served as excellent entry points to the genre. As an introduction to modern VR I’m not sure I could not have had a better initiation. I was quickly able to pick up navigating and interacting with objects.

The word trippy gets thrown around and applied to anything that slightly weird looking these days. A Fisherman’s Tale deftly veers from dreamlike to nightmarish without you noticing, on the surface everything is clean, familiar and unthreatening but as the story progresses the literal walls of reality fall down around you and the world opens up. The art and story style is phenomenal, almost like Hergé let Salvador Dali and David Cronenberg guest pen a Tin Tin. Everything has a hand-crafted feel as if some grand creator sat down and carved the titular fisherman from a lump of wood. In my hour long playtime, I only got to scratch the surface of the mysterious story the unfurls around the endearing puppet.

A Fisherman’s Tale is coming out in January 2019, check out the announcement trailer below:

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The second title I got to play was Skyworld. This was another beautifully crafted VR title, but completely different from my first. Inside of world bending, mind-melting visuals I was treated to a fantasy tabletop strategy title that I was immediately able to pick up and play understanding the building and battle gameplay mechanics. The aim in Skyworld to destroy your enemies bases and take over the entire game board. Building a strong army full of the correct types of soldiers, made up of troops featuring all kinds of unique strategic advantages and disadvantages, these consist of your strategy genre regulars including engineers, mages and snipers, dragons and many more.

The real hook for Skyworld is that the table you are playing on and menus you use to control your units are all interactive. The table can be viewed from any conceivable angle and rotated to better see your tiny army, also all your menus can be shifted to where ever suits you best. These may sound like small additions but attention to detail like this is always a sure sign of great craftsmanship from the developers. There is no end for the potential of expansion and customization in the characters, tables, and themes by including more and more fantasy armies and locations. Skyworld looks to be an exciting and unique entry to the strategy genre.

I used to have to imagine the worlds that my Heroclix and Warhammer would occupy and my crappily painted models never quite did the trick, kids don’t know how good they got it with these new-fangled virtual realities.

Skyworld is out in early 2019, give the trailer a watch and get ready for some strategic tabletop action!

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A Fisherman’s Tale and Skyworld are as different as two games could be and use the limitations and strengths of VR to create promising games that could not be achieved in another format.

The diverse lineup of titles that forms Vertigo Games back catalogue promises a bright future for the teams, and I can’t wait to see what they blow my mind with next!

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