Sometimes you get to learn new things when playing games. For example, thanks to Red Dead Redemption 2, I recently learned about a mammoth tooth that was found in 1705 in America. Doctor Who: The Edge of Time, on the other hand, taught me that you could get pop-in in VR games. I mean, I guess it makes sense, they’re still games after all. I’ve just not seen it happen before in a VR game.
Nor have I ever had the unique experience of walking through neck-deep treacle throughout the entirety of the experience. I also didn’t ever consider what it would be like to have a timer on your teleport ability. You know, the one that many games use to move you around the world that you’re inhabiting? No amount of fiddling with the game’s comfort settings would let me speed things up.
Honestly, I don’t know why this game insists on you taking things so slowly, maybe it’s to try and limit the aforementioned pop-in, but it just means you have to spend even longer trudging through its world. That’s fine in a game like No Man’s Sky, but it kind of sucks when the world of The Edge of Time is so dull. Somehow, despite travelling across the universe, everything is just a bit boring.
The story is classic Doctor Who stuff; you are a random human in a laundromat when suddenly you hear a voice coming from a small speaker. It’s none other than Jodie Whittaker (who is excellent as the Doctor, despite the rest of the nonsense) who tells you that you’re the only hope for the universe.
Time itself is being hacked, you see, and glitches have started appearing and messing things up. Just then, in what can only be described as intensely serendipitous timing, time glitches and things get weird. The washing machines are now filled with strange aliens with a taste for human flesh. Shock! Horror! Mild peril and other PG12 threats!
From here on out, you jump between times and locations, facing Weeping Angels in a Victorian Mansion, Daleks in a temple, and solving some of the most trite and played out puzzles in existence. Find the safe combination, locate parts hidden in the environment, laser puzzles, pull and twist this thing that turns into a lift or something. It’s all just so dull. It’s the game mechanics of an escape room puzzler wrapped up in Doctor Who visuals, but doesn’t really feel like a Doctor Who adventure.
It’s also terribly signposted; the only difference between something you can interact with and something you can’t interact with is how it reacts if you move your hand over it. So, there’s no way of knowing that you should or shouldn’t do something until you attempt to. This makes for some incredibly frustrating moments where the game simply doesn’t tell you anything. This is particularly jarring because there are other times when the game won’t shut up telling you what you need to do.
Sadly the whole thing harks back to the bad old days of VR. The days where we were forced to put up with a slew of ‘Experiences’ because nobody could figure out what the games should be like yet.