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The Gallery Episode 1: Call of the Starseed transports you to the beach first.
The scene is laden with atmosphere. The waves lap against the shore, and a lighthouse is always looming over the rock formations. There is a campfire where beachgoers have abandoned lawn chairs, surfboards, and a container of popcorn. A little ways up the beach a small tent stands alone.
You're there hunting for your twin sister, who serves as a sort-of narrator through tapes that she has left behind. Developer Cloudhead games was inspired by 1980s fantasy movies, and the lineage of films like The Goonies is clear in the opening moments of Call of the Starseed.
Like any good 80s kid, you are poking your nose where it doesn't belong. A quick investigation of a series of rocky caves reveals yet another person has been living on the beach, and their cave is full of Morse code notes — and a flare gun.
In this video, Ben Kuchera and I show off the exploration and object interaction that lies at the heart of this puzzle game.
As with most HTC Vive games that make full use of the room-scale technology, movement in Call of the Starseed relies primarily on teleporting with the touchpad your controller. Select the destination by looking where you want to go — the headset will track your movements. Dragging your thumb across the touchpad will change the direction you'll face after you teleport.
In my experience, teleporting is a great way to get around, and the ability to choose which direction you'll face is a great addition to the mechanic. Teleporting doesn't disorient or nauseate me. This makes it a step up from the "comfort turning" in VR games that use traditional gamepads.
It's excellent to be able to use my full range of vision and movement to solve environmental puzzles. That, combined with the beautiful atmosphere and intriguing mystery make The Gallery: Call of the Starseed a must-investigate launch game for the HTC Vive.
Episode 1 of The Gallery is out now on Steam.