PAX East 2018: Vacation Simulator is One Wacky Yet Enjoyable Trip

In the past couple of years, titles such as Lone Echo and Wilson’s Heart have explored what virtual reality games can truly accomplish it terms of storytelling and rich, detailed gameplay. But there’s room for games where the goal is to mess around, and that’s where Owlchemy Labs comes in with Vacation Simulator. The follow-up to their initial VR hit Job Simulator has you once again surrounded by those familiar floating sentient monitors, except now you and them have hit the beach with the intentional goal of goofing off. The result isn’t exactly the deepest VR game out there (at least based on the initial demo), but it’s one that should definitely provide a hefty dose of enjoyment.

Finding yourself on a beach surrounded by your floating comrades, the game lets you cut loose and explore the area by teleporting around, engaging in whichever activities you choose (although it is heavily suggested that some have to be unlocked first through certain tasks). Perhaps you wish to compete in a sandcastle-building competition, play some water sports, or just rub some suntan lotion/coolant on a particularly crispy monitor. Whatever the case, you can easily hunt down various items such as sand dollars to spend at the local Dock Shop in order to get what you need, and there’s still a good chunk of variety in things to pick up an do.

Of course, much like Job Simulator, a lot of the joy in Vacation Simulator comes from the humor in seeing these advanced robots of the future attempt to replicate obsolete human behavior. And in doing so, you can expect missing sound files from replies, games of “net ball” played with soccer balls in the ocean, and awkward attempts to be friendly with you in general. It’s charming stuff, backed up by a vibrant and colorful art style that captures the cheesy faux tropical flavor quite well.

Like a lot of similar VR titles, Vacation Simulator has been able to master movement via teleportation, so getting around isn’t an issue. The controls themselves are quite fine, with the motion controls working perfectly for picking up and rotating objects or swatting a ball around. The only issues came when the game asked you to either bend down to pick something up, like for a sand dollar below the water, orĀ  a butterfly flying through the air. Something here just didn’t feel one hundred percent fine-tuned, as it was tricky to get into the proper range to pick up the objects, but hopefully this will be fixed before the final release.

After a certain amount of time, the demo ended when a rave-like beach party began, and a buzzkill of an efficiency expert-esque bot demanded we stop things then and there, as we had all gone too far, apparently. But I say we haven’t gone far enough, and can’t wait to see what other odd takes on human vacations the game has to offer. Vacation Simulator is due out later this year for all major VR platforms, so keep an eye on it if you’re looking for a cheap yet memorable getaway.