Mervils: A VR Adventure is described by its developers Vitruvius VR as a “hobbit-like adventure with the look of Mario 64”. That is a bold statement for their debut PlayStation VR title but does this third-person, part first-person open-world RPG platformer live up to it?
The game starts just like any good RPG should – by telling you the back-story. Here you learn that the Mervils are a peaceful, unadventurous bunch of people who like nothing more than good food and the jolly company of others. They live in the Mervils Kingdom, which had been protected for over 500 years by the Great Mervil Book but Balazar, a dark sorcerer has forced the pages of the book to be scattered throughout the land. It falls upon you to collect the lost pages, rebind the Great Book and be the hero that finally defeats Balazar.
After this introduction you’ll get to customise your hero. It is here that you are presented with a highly visualized 3D Mervil and you get to change its appearance, clothing and (later in the game) weaponry before making your way to the home world.
The home world acts as a tutorial for learning the basic controls. The controls are pretty simple. You move your Mervil with the left thumbstick, make it jump with X, get it to attack with R2 and if you press L2 you’ll do the PSVR blink which is used to reset your view of the character. This area also serves as a central hub linking to the four worlds: Countryside, Wild West, Arctic Isles and Paradise Cove.
As you travel through the different worlds, each of which contains three levels, looking for the lost pages of the Great Book you’ll need to be on the lookout for gold coins so that you can upgrade your weaponry. Why should I upgrade I hear you ask! Well, the lands of Mervil are not as peaceful as they once were, enemies are lurking everywhere and to make matters worse at the end of each world you’ll battle one of Balazars’ minions such as the mighty Darthate the fire-breathing dragon. You’ll also want to stop and talk to other Mervils because they will reveal quests and puzzles for you to complete. I’m not going to say a lot about the puzzles but I will say you’ll be surprised by the variety of them.
Both the gameplay and the graphics in Mervils: A VR Adventure are similar in style to Super Mario 64. If Nintendo were to make a virtual reality game it would look like this. It’s all very colourful, cartoon-like and each of the four worlds have a different look with a musical style to match. In a clear sign that I’d spent way too much time playing with the plumber on the N64 I often found myself saying “Here we go” while making my Mervil jump around. As Mervils: A VR Adventure is a third-person game you’ll be pleased to know that there is no nausea or motion sickness, in fact its probably the most comfortable PSVR title I’ve played so far.
Mervils: A VR Adventure has fourteen trophies; you’ll obtain five of these as you progress through the game by completing the four worlds and defeating Balazar. The other trophies will have you exploring and finding all the hidden areas, collecting all the pages of the Great Book as well as a few other things like surviving a mine cart ride. The list is very achievable and you won’t have any trouble adding them all to your trophy collection.
Mervils: A VR Adventure delivers exactly what PlayStation VR owners have wanted from Day One; a full length, immersive and engaging third-person adventure game. You’ll get about eight hours, slightly more if you’re going for all the trophies, of excellent adventuring. I hope other developers are taking note because Vitruvius VR really have delivered a “hobbit-like adventure with the look of Mario 64”.