You're not just battling blindness; you're battling inner demons.
Blind is a virtual reality game that spans across the PlayStation VR, the Oculus Rift, and the HTC Vive. Tiny Bull Studios developed this title to take you through a story where after a series of unfortunate events, you finds herself blind and locked in a mysterious mansion that you're desperately trying to find a way out of. While I have put a few hours of gameplay in I haven't quite reached the ending yet, but it's very obvious that you're suffering from neurological vision loss due to trauma.
You can find this game on the PlayStation Store for $25, and I personally believe it's worth the adventure. Aside from the fun of the game alone, Blind gives you a perspective of life that's going to stay with you forever.
The controls are a force to be reckoned with
As far as actual button-mapping goes, Blind is set up like any average VR game that you will find on the market. What truly changes the VR experience is how it's incorporated in the actual visuals. The whole idea of tapping a cane to get a quick glance of a scene around you through echolocation had me on the edge of my seat when Blind was first announced.
But, after getting a chance to finally play it, I found myself to be more annoyed with the mechanics than I thought I would be. I think I would have much rather preferred to need to only use a systematic echolocation when it came to rooms with puzzles, and then maybe there was music playing throughout the rest of the house so that I kept a steady vision for the rest of the game.
This way it would have maintained the difficulty of the puzzles to get out, but not have been such a nuisance for the rest of the game.
Don't get me wrong, I did make fun of throwing things around to watch my scenery appear and disappear. It was like playing a game of "Nighttime, daytime." Yet, when it came down to me getting serious and actually wanting to move forward in the game I struggled quite a bit.
Also, if you used your cane too much you are basically punished because the impending darkness can find you. It wasn't even a, "Wow, this game is hard and I love it," kind of struggle. It was a, "Alright I'm annoyed because I know what I need is right there but I can't grab it with these very specific VR point controls and — Oh. Great. If I tap my cane again to see what I'm doing then the big bad monster is gonna eat me and I'm screwed. Cool."
Diving into the story
Jean wakes up from the crash inside of this mysterious and apparently haunted, mansion without any of her vision. The voice of a man, delivered through a gramophone, guides you through the first few puzzles while simultaneously creeping you out by knowing far too much about Jean's life.
Your goal is to solve a number of puzzles that are all over this mansion in order to get out. There are no other people in this place with you, only remnants of memories and stories left behind traumatically like a soul stamp in this world.
Not only do they serve as physical puzzles, like toyetic locks, but mental ones as well. You have to piece together the story of these tortured people through the remnants of their memories in order to not only understand how to leave, but how you got there in the first place.
On top of all this, you are also learning about Jean's story and all of the troubles she has had to endure herself. Overall it had a very "kindred souls connecting together" feel to it, and that had me diving into the story like a mad woman who just wanted to know more.
The final breakdown
Frustrations of mechanics aside, the overall experience of using echolocation and the story of Blind were the saving features of the game for me. They seeded the right about of keynotes at each checkpoint to give you just enough to understand but wanting more. In a way, it did make the game that much more immersive. Those who are playing the game have their full vision in the real world and, just like Jane, are dealing with losing it and relearning everything they know about navigation.
Every time I found myself getting frustrated I would realize that I had put myself that much further into Jean's shoes. I still wish general navigation of the mansion was easier with music in the hallways, though. The scenes of escaping the darkness and solving puzzles were really where the echolocation should have been heavily relied on to balance out the difficulty.