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Floor Plan is a clever riff on the limitations of VR

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How to design a fun puzzle game without movement

Floor Plan by Turbo Button is a clever example of how to design for the limitations of a platform instead of around them.

The game is $6.99 and is out now for the Oculus Rift and Gear VR. You're stuck in an elevator, traveling up and down the floors solving puzzles and moving objects around. That's basically it. But the game's personality and level design elevate what could have been a boring experience.

I'm really proud of those puns, by the way.

It can be a bit tricky to figure out what to do next, but there is a handy hint button in case you get stuck and many of the stumpers can be solved by being observant as you travel between floors. I won't say anything else, because it's better if you discover the game's quirks for yourself.

The setting means you don't need a clever way to move your character, because you're stuck in an elevator. The simple "look at an object and click to use it" play means that it works well with the Rift's remote or the touchpad of the Gear VR. It's a simple game to pick up; the challenge lies completely in figuring out how to keep moving towards your ultimate goal of getting out of that damned elevator. The final moments of the game deliver a fun surprise, as well.

I prefer to play on the Rift, if you're one of the lucky people with a choice between the two platforms, because the act of leaning forward to see a bit more of the environments around the door is such a simple pleasure. While you may only see a bit of the world outside the elevator, the game does an effective job of making you feel like there's much more going on just out of view.

You can finish the game in an hour or two, especially once you get a feel for the silly logic of the puzzles, and there's not much of a reason to go back and replay Floor Plan once you've seen the ending.  But that first pass is worth the money, if only to see how developers are finding clever ways to design games with the strengths of VR while using the weaknesses of the platform to the benefit of the game's setting.