Please, Don’t Touch Anything (PDTA), a puzzle game from BulkyPix, has recently released a new VR adaptation of the year-old 2D title. Now built from the ground up in 3D for Oculus Rift and Gear VR headsets, PDTA offers the most immersive button-pushing simulator currently in VR. I wish I was making that up.
Someone asks you to cover their bathroom break, and it’s not really a big deal or anything. After all, he said he’d be right back, and all you have to do is sit in a chair and follow one measly instruction: don’t touch anything—especially that dangerous-looking red button. Do you push it? Or do you wait for him to get back from the toilet?
Go ahead. Push it. See what happens.
You probably won’t be satisfied with nuking the world with an ICBM on your first try though, because there’s over 20 more puzzles to solve and a whole wall to fill with trophies that you’ll earn after every new (and strangely satisfying) way to end all of human existence.
If you’ve played PDTA before, the VR version isn’t that much different in terms of actual gameplay. After all, you still have your console and your trusty tools of the trade to help you along the way. Actively hunting out clues with a black light, remembering complex steps to get you to even more impressive puzzle elements, ones that seem almost impossible on first blush, make for an immersive and challenging adventure that will have you searching for all 30 head-scratching endings—but be advised: solutions are not always the same as the 2D version, and a number of puzzle clues were changed to shake things up a bit.
Regardless whether you played it before or not in 2D, PDTA works remarkably well in VR, and features uncountable numbers of clickable puzzle elements that litter the whole bunker—above, below, left, right, and behind—keeping things fresh and clearly in the spirit of immersive 3D environments. Turn a screw here, pop open a drawer there, punch in a few numbers and you’ve somehow unleashed a demon breathing down your neck right behind you—something that’s visceral and really unexpected from an unassuming little button-pushing sim.
That said, PDTA is delightfully creepy, and is filled to the brim with some seriously morbid overtones (pentagrams, unborn baby demons, the dark lord Cthulhu, etc.) and there’s great fun to be had in exploring the game’s infectiously weird pop culture endings, with references from films like Office Space (1999) and War Games (1983), and games like Papers, Please! (2013) and Space Invaders (1978).
And there’s also something surprisingly immersive about sitting down at a desk and swivel chair in virtual reality—likely the top contender for ‘The Saddest Things Ever Said’ award, but much like the Esper series, PTDA lets the action form around you without ever screwing with your expectations of what you can do in the game, or the reality it creates. Example: There’s a telephone in a drawer that you have to pry open with a hammer—and you better believe I immediately dialed 867-5309 to see what happened. It’s little things like these that keep you searching for the next clue—the next Easter egg, and while I’m not exactly a completion-freak when it comes to collecting things, PDTA really brings that side out of me.
In the 3 hours I played the game, I only managed to complete around 75 percent of the solutions by myself. Like any puzzle game, play time will vary based on how quick and tenacious you are in solving each puzzle. Admittedly, I did sneak a look at a solutions guide to complete the remaining 25 percent, but if I hadn’t, I could easily see myself playing for another 1-2 hours.
My only complaint? Immersion was somewhat dampened by only a single thing for me really. Picking up the few text-based objects in the game, like folders and information sheets, results in an unnatural reading angle—but it was only a minor nuisance in this highly polished, and massively fun experience.
Attention: The version available on Steam is not VR-compatible. You can purchase the game from the Oculus Store for Rift ($14.99) and the Gear VR Store ($8.99). There’s still no word on when/if the game is coming to HTC Vive.