For better or worse, though, Edge of Time does scares the best. It might even do them a little too well for the most dedicated Who fans. There’s a few of the biggest jump scares I’ve had in VR here. Those Angels, for example, keep your heart rate up in easily the game’s most impressive sequence, making you painfully aware of your every move and too scared to even turn around. Other levels carry an uneasy atmosphere that makes seeing the game through an unexpected challenge.
It’ll be enough to stop some fans in their tracks, so much so you could argue Maze Theory goes in a little too hard on the horror. That said, the concept of the Angels in VR is one that’s tough to pass up and the studio does the premise justice. I just would have liked to have seen more of the wonder and awe of many of the Doctor’s adventures to balance out the moodiness.
Many of the game’s other ideas are repurposed from traditional tropes. There’s a handful of puzzles that are snappy to solve, though never feel unique to the franchise itself. Redirecting lasers to open doors could have been lifted straight out of any other game and, well, I’m pretty sure finding a safe code on the back of a picture is in every other VR game.
Your late-game encounter with the Daleks, meanwhile, results in fine, formulaic stealth segments followed up by a fun, forgettable on-rails shooter. For Who diehards, these moments will no doubt delight, but they don’t disguise relatively stripped back game mechanics. They help round it out to a respectable two to three-hour runtime, which I tackled in one sitting without ever feeling bored, if not always illuminated.
Perhaps Doctor Who’s biggest enemy is Doctor Who itself. There’s so much wacky potential for a feature-length VR game here that meeting those expectations is almost impossible. We saw just a snapshot of that in the BBC’s excellent Runaway VR short, an animation bursting with the charm, wit and invention the series is known for stuffed into 13 minutes. The Edge of Time is grittier, deeper even, but it doesn’t match the personality, bravado or intuition of control. Perhaps there’s a lesson to be learned there.
Who is at its best when there’s a hook; a gimmick so playful and innovative that anyone can get carried away in the madness that ensues. Instead of testing those waters, The Edge of Time settles for bringing the series’ most tried and true elements directly into headsets in hopes of winning over dedicated fans. It plays more like a rejected episode of the TV series rather than something that fully embraces its platform. The Who faithful be satisfied in that safety, I suspect, but I personally can’t help but wish this was a little more dangerous.
Final Score: 3/5 Stars | Just Okay
Note: We are changing our review scheme to a five-point scale, without half points, rather than a 10-point scale with half points like before. All past reviews will stay as they are, but all future reviews (that includes games, non-game apps, hardware, and more) will all be reviewed using the same five-point star rating scale. Expect the visual representation of this new scale to change with a more attractive style soon.