Devolver Digital is known for their quirky game library and Tentacular might be one of their best games yet; especially when it comes to VR experiences. After several hours of flailing my tentacles around in this adorable adventure I can easily say this is the most fun I’ve had playing an awkward eight-limbed mollusk since Octodad, even if I did have to play this one with six tentacles tied behind my back.
The premise is simple; you are a giant octopus who was found and adopted while still in your egg. Raised alongside humans, this fish out of water story begins on your 16th birthday; a big day on the island of La Kalma where you are now an adult and must get a job and declare your purpose and contribution to society. Already considered a social outcast of sorts due to your clumsy and destructive antics around the island, you have a lot to prove to your fellow citizens, and events are about to unfold that will give you just that chance.
Tentacular is a brilliantly designed game, perfect for VR. The experience unfolds as you travel from island to island, each presented as a charming 3D diorama that reminded me of the level design in The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets. Each scene has just enough detail to bring it to life along with an eclectic cast of characters to interact with. There is a surprising amount of dialogue in the game; none spoken but all delivered with easy-to-read speech bubbles, which leads to one of my few criticisms of the game.
There are many sequences in the game where you need to be doing some action that requires looking at what you are doing rather than at the text bubbles which are often out of view. This can easily lead to lots of missed exposition and even instructions in some cases. Important dialogue can be repeated but some story elements are lost forever if you miss their delivery. Tapping characters on the head to trigger conversations is clever, and additional taps accelerate the dialogue one line at a time.
You’ll learn everything you need to know about how to play Tentacular while exploring the main menu. There are numerous objects lying and floating around for you to grab with either of your tentacles that are extensions of your hands and controllers. Holding the adaptive Sense Controllers’ triggers activates the suction on your tentacles allowing you to grasp items and move or throw them around, which is mostly what the game will consist of.
All of the game systems have been incorporated into the design, so if you want to change options you press a button and a blimp lowers from the sky with a switch to access another island scene with more controls to tweak languages, graphics, speech speed, etc. You can manually lower or raise the water level to accommodate standing or seated gameplay. Even something as simple as resetting a scene or puzzle is physically represented by a Reset Shack with switches to reset the current scene or return to the main city. The shack even has a guy living inside that will offer you hints; basically a charming page of IKEA-like instructions on what you need to do.
Tentacular is heavily story-driven although you do have a Playground area that slowly populate with new items as you unlock them during the story. Otherwise you go from scene to scene, first with a meeting at city hall followed by a job assessment test and your first day at your new job, which leads to some truly surprising events of an extraterrestrial nature. Every scene plays out like an activity set with certain tasks and objectives that all require manipulating objects within the scene. One of my favorite moments was using powerlines to slingshot cargo contains and fuel tanks towards targeted structures and demolish them just like Angry Birds.
Tentacular is a charming interactive experience with a cute story and engaging physics-based gameplay that’s fun for the entire family. The game is admittedly a bit linear and unless you are really having fun with the Playground area this is a one and done once you have finished the 5-7 hour story. The PS VR2‘s unique input features such as adaptive triggers and headset haptics could probably have been used to greater effect, it’s still an enjoyable and fun little experience and one you should definitely check out if you want something a little sillier than the intense Resident Evil Village VR Mode or Horizon VR: Call of the Mountain.
Tentacular Pricing & Availability
Tentacular is available on the PlayStation Store for €24.99.
REVIEW: Tentacular (PS VR2)
Tentacular is a charming interactive experience with a cute story and engaging physics-based gameplay that’s fun for the entire family. The game is admittedly a bit linear and unless you are really having fun with the Playground area this is a one and done once you have finished the 5-7 hour story.