Leave the Nest for the Playstation VR is almost a good game. This somewhat addicting, but mostly-frustrating experience has players controlling birds who must dodge obstacles in endless levels. This release comes from the developer of Flappy Bird and the two titles are generally similar, in fact, you could describe Leave the Nest as Flappy Bird in 3D. These similarities include a flapping mechanic where you must time the flaps of your wings to control your elevation as well as the randomized perpetual score based gameplay.
Leave the Nest differentiates from its smartphone predecessor with the ability to shift left and right between three lanes. There are also collectables such as coins that increase your multiplier as well as power-ups that grant abilities such as the damage-negating shield.
Gameplay is deeper too by way of challenges that must be completed to unlock new birds and their respective areas. These challenges can include completing 3 zones in one sitting to something harder such as flying through 10 windows without crashing. The challenges gave a nice incentive early on in the game, but as the challenges became more difficult, completing them was a frustration, largely due to poor control and cheap deaths.
The cheap deaths I mentioned are the downfall of Leave the Nest. Flapping your wings, which can be done with the press of a button or by pantomiming the motion with move controllers, is not responsive or intuitive enough for this type of game. It’s hard to gauge just how high a flap will take you and inputs often have slight delays to them. This isn’t a major problem for most of the stationary objects in environments as you have plenty of time to react, but being hit with a falling rock that you don’t have time enough to react to doesn’t feel like a warranted death.
In VR, the ability to look around instantly to avoid objects from above and below, could add some depth to an obstacle dodging game such as this one. The problem is that hazards are too numerous and your speed is too fast to do anything but look straight ahead. In this way, the game wastes one of the main points of VR. Another problem is that the your hit-box extends past your point of view resulting in a large chunk of deaths coming from switching to another lane before your body completely passes an object. Again, with areas having such a high concentration of various obstacles which, in turn require fast reaction speeds, it’s odd that switching virtual lanes is borderline broken in this way.
Leave the nest does have some strong points however. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety of birds and themes that I could choose. There’s themes based on Christmas, Halloween, Chinese festivals, cities and beaches to name a few. Birds fit their environment more often than not as well. You play as a toucan for the beach zone and a bat on the Halloween level for example.
Additionally, trying to beat your previous score can be fairly addicting despite the game’s problems. The music is pleasant and does its job of getting you into a trance like state. The graphics are also decent with an art style that’s cartoony and bright, if fairly unspectacular.
Leave the Nest is, at it’s core, a pretty solid game that is let down by some rough edges and frustrating design choices. If you’re the type of gamer who chases high scores than it’s likely you’ll gain something from the experience, but as it stands, I don’t believe it’s potential hook is worth 20 dollars.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Sony Playstation 4 code was provided to Brash Games for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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