Non-VR players get un-Tethered!
Tethered is one of the most delightful VR games that I’ve played. Previously only available for both PlayStation VR and Rift/Vive PC players, the game can now be enjoyed by those limited to just their TV/monitor.
It’s a god game that harks right back to the likes of Lionhead’s Black and White, and even all the way back to the classic Populous. Players must shepherd little people, imaginatively called peeps, around a floating island, instructing them to perform various tasks.
The overall aim of the game is to collect enough spirit energy to complete the level/island. Pretty much everything that you do add to your Spirit Energy level, but you are going to need help from your peeps.
Everything is controlled by clicking on one thing and tethering it to something else by clicking on that as well. It’s a very simple and clean control method, perfect for VR and, generally, very easy to get to grips with. You peeps need to be tethered to resources in order to collect them and bring them back to the village.
The peeps arrive on the island via blue eggs that descend from the heavens, one by one, during the day. They are hatched by either tethering another peep to it, so he can sit on it, or tethering the sun to shine on it. If you don’t get to an egg in time it turns brown and hatches as a grub- a tasty snack for peeps, but otherwise of no help to you.
When your peeps arrive in the world they are unspecialised everymen. Constructing special building enables you to train up your peeps to be masters of their craft. A craftsman does a better job of collecting resource than his vanilla counterpart.
You can also train up heroes, which is handy, as at night things get a bit more dangerous. Critters start climbing up from the underside of the island. Not only will they attack peeps on sight, they will also devour your precious resources.
You need to look after your peeps by making sure there’s enough food and keeping them busy. If you don’t they get stressed and then fall into despair. When they get to this stage your peeps no longer follow your instructions. Tethering a sad peep to a rainbow cheers them up.
Weather is very useful in the game, and being a god, you can control it. Sunshine, when tethered to peep arms them with a grenade, tethered to a field the crop will replenish. Similarly, rain with replenish wood and snow will replenish stone. You can use a zephyr to blow your peeps to a destination. You can combine weather clouds to create rainbows and lightening.
Befitting the game’s cutsie design style and, likely, to accommodate the demands graphical demands of VR, Tethered has a rather simplistic painterly look. In VR the added 3rd dimension makes up for any visual compromise, on a monitor, however, game doesn't look as impressive.
The game is a lot of fun. There are thirteen islands (including the tutorial), with lashings of replay value. No level plays quite the same the second time around.
Tethered is a simple affair that looks and plays very well as an immersive VR game. On a TV or monitor, the game may feel a little too simple, especially compared to other PC strategy games. Overall, it makes for a very entertaining VR game, but is only worth it in 2D if you feel that you are missing out on something that your VR-enabled brethren are enjoying!
Verdict: 8 (VR) 7 (non-VR)