A Fisherman’s Tale is an upcoming puzzle-adventure from Innerspace VR and ARTE, the Franco-German TV network, that aims to get you thinking outside the box—or rather outside the tiny lighthouse as you try to escape a number of rooms on your way to the top.
Playing as an ex-fisherman named Bob, you find out one day that a large storm is brewing, and it’s up to you make it to the top of the lighthouse and turn on the light. After finding a tool to pry the nails off the boarded windows, that’s when you notice that things aren’t as they appear in the cute, charming world of Bob.
Looking out the window, you see a giant version of yourself in an infinite recursive loop. With A Fisherman’s Tale, it really is turtles all the way down.
This isn’t just a cool effect, but it immediately becomes an important game mechanic for object interaction.
Looking out the window, I toss a bottle, and quickly whip around to the dollhouse to catch a miniature version of it. In this case, it was a useless bottle, but soon I have to fetch a tiny hat for a talking crustacean buddy, but I only have a regular-sized hat at my disposal. Second example: there’s a giant anchor in the way to a door, and removing the barrier is as simple as picking it up out of the dollhouse, of course watching as a giant version of your hand comes down to scoop it up.
Some tracking related issues notwithstanding, the game’s object interaction is very promising. You can practically manipulate any object you can touch, which leads to some inevitable fun moments such as shrinking everything in the room, or trying to shrink an object until you can’t even pick it up anymore. If you drop an item, a handy extender arm, activated with a button press, lets you pick it back up without having to bend over. If you toss out an important key item (like a key), it will automatically respawn after a few ticks.
I only had the opportunity to play the first chapter, which took around 15 minutes, but Innerspace VR CEO Hadrien Lanvin told me that it will typically take users between two and four hours to complete the entire multi-chapter game. Even then, I felt my 15 minutes in where a bit rushed, as the game is very object-centric and requires you to rummage around the room looking for the right puzzle piece so you can escape each successive room. Thankfully there’s a difficulty slider that lets you turn off all hints at its most difficult, or keep them in so even a child can play.
Completing a room also prompts a cutscene, which is said to explain more about Bob, and why he quit his life as a fisherman. If it has anything to do with the image below, well, we may have our answer.
A Fisherman’s Tale is slated to arrive by the end of 2018, first releasing on PC VR headsets, then PSVR at a later point. Supported PC VR headsets include HTC Vive, Oculus Rift and Windows VR headsets. While co-developed by Innerspace VR and ARTE, the game is being published by Vertigo Games, the minds behind Arizona Sunshine (2016) and Skyworld (2017).
Check out the announce trailer below to get an idea of what A Fisherman’s Tale will have in store.
We have feet on the ground at Gamescom 2018, so check back for all of the VR/AR news and hands-on articles of this year’s up and coming games.