Tentacular PSVR 2 Review
Life is tough, growing up as a giant tentacle monster. Sure, you might have started off small and cute, but as you get bigger and bigger, you can’t stay on the house anymore, and you keep getting in trouble with the rest of the islanders when your playing by the island and end up accidentally destroying a few boats or shutting down traffic for the day – it happens to the best of us. But then it turns out you’re adopted? And now that you’re 16, you need to get a job? Ugh. Life sucks in Tentacular.
After getting a job putting in some manual labour at the local dump, really making use of those giant tentacles, the first day of work uncovers a mysterious alien space ship, sending you and the scientists, business leaders and government of La Kalma on a quirky adventure of discovery and experimentation that could totally alter the world. There’s also some hecking weird mind-altering crystals1
At the heart of this is you, the giant tentacle monster. You tower over everything in VR, you human hands having been replaced by giant tentacles covered in suckers to grab onto items big and small. You can pick up smaller and lighter objects with the tip of a single tentacle, but larger, heavier things will require both tentacles and to use the thicker portion lower down. They’re generally quite rigid, allowing for a degree of precision, but with an inherent waggly floppiness as well.
Talking to the islanders, you can bop them on the head to move through their dialogue (though some take umbrage at this, so you can also just press a button), but the main thing you’ll be doing is lifting shipping containers, large boulders and girders, putting this to use in all manner of puzzles.
Some missions will have you stacking objects, others will have you flinging rockets in a nascent space programme (sometimes using electrical power lines as a slingshot), and yet more will use the discovery of various kinds of M.A.G.N.E.T.S. to bind together barmy structures. It takes a little while to reveal everything it has up its sleeves (spoiler: they’re giant tentacles), but Tentacular has plenty of ideas for how to use this quirky set up.
It generally plays well, mixing together the accuracy of motion controls with a lashing of the imprecision of games like Octodad and other daft “awkward controls” games and physics puzzlers. That can be a tad frustrating at times, when something isn’t quite working how you think it should – one puzzle using rockets to spin an astronaut cage kept on exploding on me and I couldn’t figure out why, while long-range sling-shotting is always fussy.
It’s all wrapped up in a quirky story of self-discovery, societal expectation and billionaire manipulation. I did personally find the story and dialogue to be quite noisy and tricky to follow at times, as you’re reading from character speech bubbles and tapping through. You can get them to repeat the level’s goal and what you’re meant to do, but some points in the story see characters talking over each other and even interspersed with chatter from a whole crowd, all the talking accompanied by little humanoid whooping and hollering. That said, it does build up to a nice and satisfying conclusion.