‘Richie’s Plank’ Devs Are Creating a Spiritual Successor to ‘Astro Bot’ & ‘Lucky’s Tale’

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Toast Interactive, the developer behind Richie’s Plank Experience (2017), revealed working on a new VR platformer that seems to be taking more than a few cues from Sony’s beloved Astro Bot Rescue Mission (2018) and Playful’s Lucky’s Tale (2016).

Called Max Mustard, the VR platformer has been under development for three years now, with the team calling it a “modern VR platformer with moments of nostalgia, meaningful upgrades, first person interactions and game play that keeps you wanting more.”

Here’s how Toast Interactive describes the game’s setup: “You and the famous inventor, Max Mustard embark on an adventure to reunite adorable mudpups with their parents. Along the way, you are faced with a surprise dilemma when a friend reveals a secret about who they are.”

Image courtesy Toast Interactive

Max Mustard is set to include 40+ levels, four bosses, eight upgrades, and 4+ hours of gameplay. Beyond that, judging by the trailer it looks like some mechanics were inspired by Astro Bot Rescue Mission. In the video, we see the player wield a suction cup dart gun, letting you solve minor puzzles to move Max forward.

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We’d be surprised if the dart gun was the only tool, as those eight promised upgrades may include more elaborate puzzle-solving gear for the player to wield. Fans of pioneering VR platformer Lucky’s Tale will also probably note the resemblance thanks to its family friendly vibe and bright colors, which is admittedly a pretty standard look for games in the genre since probably before Spyro: Year of the Dragon (2000).

It’s still early days too. Max Mustard is “deep in the production phase,” the studio says, noting that it’s slated to release early next year. Toast Interactive hasn’t specified exactly which platforms it’s targeting beyond Quest, saying only that the reveal trailer represents the visual quality of Quest 2, noting further that the Quest 3 version will be “able to be pushed further” in terms of visual fidelity.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • ViRGiN

    I just hope it’s a sign that Richie Plank is a thing of the past and we won’t be seeing paid 10 minute long piss poor VR demo in top sellers anymore.

    Then again, paid Gorilla Tag on PCVR is the most popular game for months on end, so it looks like even RTX 4090 TI owners don’t care about actual high end experiences.

    • kool

      I’m with you on that, even though todays indie devs are tomorrows aaa devs. We should be seeing way better games from smaller studios with quest 3 dropping and psvr2 entering it’s first Christmas. The games are there but it seems like a trickle instead of a flood. Even still what’s coming next year?

  • Mysticeti

    I just wish they’d “fix” the EULA cruft they added to Richie’s Plank. That experience was great for parties/noobs but now it takes 20 minute to explain to noobs that they have to dismiss the EULA that they’re not gonna read and don’t have any idea how to interact with.

  • I like how the team changed completely genre of games it is making. This is totally different from Richie’s Plank Experience

    • ViRGiN

      Richie wasn’t any “genre” other than “im using unity/unreal for the first time” and “tech demo that should never be allowed to be sold at any price”. Something alike, but with much higher depth and polish should be provided by Meta for free.

  • ApocalypseShadow

    Looks decent. But basically a rip off copy of other developer’s games.

    Why not plagiarize some more and call it ‘Lucky Bot.’ Or ‘Astro Tales.’

    • VR5

      You know, the people who played and enjoyed those games might be interested in playing some more like them. If the quality is there, why does it matter that there were previous games in the same genre?

  • I like the gun mechanic, I don’t think I’ve seen that before in a 3D platformer for VR. It’s aesthetic is a bit.. bland, but we’re starved enough for games that it’s not a deal breaker. For a good price, I’d get it.