Pop-Up Pilgrims won’t immerse you like other VR games. Sporting simplistic 2D visuals, it doesn’t have the same jaw-dropping sounds and sights that gamers crave from virtual reality either. As the Cloud God, you sit atop your nimbus, guiding a party of pilgrims through a series of over fifty stages. Each one is layered, similar to the a pop-up children’s book, with pilgrims able to hop backwards and forwards between layers.
It’s your job to make sure they reach their end goal safely, though you’re a god that’s been defanged since Floating Cloud God Saves the Pilgrims. The more pilgrims you save, the higher your score – a number that can also be racked up by collecting coins scattered throughout each level.
Of course, there are obstacles you’ll need to navigate and enemies to watch out for. Given that the pilgrims will move around autonomously, this is more of a management puzzler in the vein of Lemmings instead of your traditional 2D platformer.
At a glance, you’d struggle to see how VR is being implemented in Pop-Up Pilgrims, even though it’s vital to how the game controls. The headset becomes a pointer, allowing players to select a character by simply looking at them, then using the DualShock 4 to command them to jump between platforms.
It feels odd at first though you’ll quickly come to appreciate the seamlessness and accuracy. Without VR, you’d be juggling various stick movements and button presses to select and move pilgrims instead of simple head movements.
Like many puzzle platformers, as soon as you nail the basics, Pop-Up Pilgrims gradually filters in more advanced elements. For example, levels will become bigger and change shape, with endzones being locked off until your retrieve a set number of orbs that are often positioned in precarious spaces.
These will test your reflexes as well as your management skills, cycling between followers to keep them out of harm’s way. It’s challenging and fun for a time though relatively small in scope, despite being a tad more expensive than you’re typical PSN game.
Pop-Up Pilgrims is far from a must-have for PlayStation VR though helps demonstrate the tech’s implementation in terms of clever gameplay mechanics and not just immersive dioramas.