Stuido Studios‘ The Take is a hot-seat virtual reality game that combines secret agent shenanigans with a comic book aesthetic. It’s out now for HTC Vive and Windows Mixed Reality headsets, with an Oculus Rift version to come soon. The studio is also planning on porting it to PlayStation VR.
The Take hinges on being a party game for people to gather around and play. One person has a certain amount of time to hide a piece of intel and set traps, and then they pass the headset to the second player, who must find the hidden object before the clock runs down. It has three different rooms, and each features secret compartments. This lends it some replayability as both the hider and seeker will discover new nooks and crannies.
I tried it at the VRLA event last week in Los Angeles, and I took on the role of the second spy. As I tore through the room to try to find the hidden intel, little comic book sound effects popped up around me, like “BANG!” and “FWOOSH!” Stuido’s lead developer, John Cornacchioli, says that the team drew inspiration from pop artists like Roy Lichtenstein as well as the Golden Age of comic books.
I eventually found the intel, but not before a flashbang blinded me when I triggered a pressure trap by checking behind a painting. I won with only a few seconds to spare — a close match with Player One.
Cornacchioli says that the team wanted to create an experience where players could easily compete with their friends. They also wanted to develop a game that people can experience in a group setting.
“You go to a place to play VR,” said Cornacchioli in an interview with GamesBeat. “It’s not just like, everyone has it, so I’ll play from home. I would have people over to my house, or we’d have people at the office, and we’d say, hey, play this! And they’d play it while we’d just sit there and watch them play. There was no way to directly engage in person with someone in this virtual space. This allows you to have one headset, really easy onboarding.”
Cornacchioli says that, from the start, the studio programmed the game so that it could be easily ported to different platforms. The main challenge, however, is in the control scheme.
“Oculus has a joystick. Vive has a touchpad. PlayStation doesn’t have either. [It has a wand — Ed.] Windows Mixed Reality, I think, has both [It features a joystick and touchpad side-by-side — Ed.],” said Cornacchioli. “So, uh, what feels right for the player to use? That, to me, was just like—finding what orientation of those buttons feels good for the player, what makes sense, and how they can do it without cramping up their hands.”
The Take only has two buttons — three, if you feel like using its optional inventory system — for grabbing items and teleporting. None of the traps cause death; instead, they shave precious time off the clock. It’s a forgiving game experience that feels like part scavenger hunt, part escape the room. Whichever platform it ends up on, Stuido has successfully designed it to be a colorful, accessible game.