At Oculus Connect 3 this week, as with so many VR events, you are exposed to a variety of VR experiences. That word, “experience,” is the best way to describe entertainment-oriented content that doesn’t exactly fit neatly into our typical PC gaming mindset. Like the PCs that power it, VR isn’t just for FPS, RPG, or platform gaming, after all.
Funomena’s Luna is actually a game, but it’s a soothing puzzle game with a nice little story behind it, which starts to move it more into that “experience” category a bit. The story is that an owl has tricked a little bird and erased the bird’s memory, and your job is to help the bird rebuild its memory by creating lush environments with little snippets of elements of its life. You unlock those elements by solving simple puzzles.
I don’t use the word “simple” to denigrate the experience. The tasks really aren’t all that challenging, at least in the level I tried, but they are short and satisfying. They involve using the Touch controllers to maneuver lighted points into a shape. When you’ve done it successfully, you hear a satisfying little pop, and when you’ve done them all, you get to see the memory. Once you’ve unlocked all the memories, then you begin building an environment for the bird.
For the stage I unlocked, those memories were lily pads and trees. When I built a world of them -- reshaping those items, changing colors, and so on – frogs started hopping among the lily pads and butterflies started flying around, and a turtle climbed out of the water to nuzzle up to the bird. I was immersed inside of the world once I built it, and I could splash the water and move around it. Then it’s onto the next stage.
All of this happens while very soothing (spa like?) music plays in the background. In fact, although it seems at a glance that this might be more of a child’s game, it’s actually built for adults, and the idea is that it’s an escape-style game that is meant to relax the player. It accomplished that goal for me, even if it’s not particularly my style of game. It did remind me, in this soothing way, of Monument Valley’s Lands End (for Samsung Gear VR), which I wrote about last year before its release.
We weren’t able to talk with the developer, so I don’t have details on availability, but I’ll try to update this article when I find out.