The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game [Hivemind Review]

The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game is a narrative-driven VR game with escape room-like mechanics.

An imposing, neon-lit building named The Atlas Theater rendered in VR.

Format

Style of Play:

  • Play on demand (i.e. purchase and play any time)
  • VR

Who is it For?

  • Adventure seekers
  • Story seekers
  • Puzzle lovers
  • VR Enthusiasts

Required Equipment: computer with an internet connection, VR Headset that supports either the Oculus or Steam platform

Recommended Team Size: 1

Play Time: 2+ hours for most players

Price: $14.99 on Steam

Booking: purchase and play at your leisure

Description

This is a narrative-driven single-player VR mystery game with puzzle and escape room elements. It is available through Quest or Steam VR.

Holding up a Cinema World Magazine in a room with intricate wallpaper. Rendered in VR.

Editor’s Note: Hivemind Reviews typically include at least 3 reactions. However, the third writer for this piece was unable to play because the game caused them to feel too nauseous to continue.

Cara Mandel’s Reaction

The Atlas Mystery was an engaging, narrative-driven VR game with escape room-like mechanics. It is set in a once vibrant and successful 1940โ€™s era movie palace, the Atlas Theater, which now stands in disrepair, a shadow of its once glamorous heyday. Tasked as the new floor manager, it was my job to explore the halls of this mysterious location and, with the assistance of some paranormal occurrences, uncover the truth about a tragedy that took place here long ago. I thoroughly enjoyed the setting of this game and how the story unfolded through a series of handwritten notes, news articles, and other ephemera I discovered. There were several really beautiful, diegetic mechanics used in this game that I found myself marveling at. Very creative use of the medium!

I should note, however, that this game may not be advisable for those with a low motion tolerance for VR. I have a rather high tolerance and even found myself a bit queasy at times. I did find it useful to turn off the smooth locomotion settings and use teleportation and snap turning to traverse the space.

That aside, I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable game. The soundtrack was unsettling and I found myself genuinely nervous wandering the halls of this space. The puzzles were well designed and at times even gave the feeling of being in an IRL escape room setting. They ranged in difficulty but nothing felt beyond an intermediate level. Iโ€™d recommend this game to anyone who loves a โ€œspiritedโ€ mystery.

Theresa W’s Reaction

The Atlas Mystery was a fantastic use of the VR medium as an interactive story and puzzle game. Every interaction in the game felt well designed and fun to accomplish. The items you were able to interact with were tactile and the puzzle flow worked for most of the game. Compared to the first half of the game, which had tight gameplay and cluing, the second half was lacked clear direction and cluing. The contrast and lighting could have been better with certain key items being too dark to see with the lighting provided.

As someone playing with Index controllers, I was pleasantly surprised to see the use of hand and finger tracking in-game, making interactions much smoother and more realistic. The developers were very fast to respond to any technical issues on Steam, and helped fix booting issues I was having. I definitely recommend using the teleport movement and snap turn to move if you are prone to motion sickness.

Considering this is the studio’s first dive into VR puzzle games, I was impressed. I had a fantastic time discovering new areas, solving puzzles, and putting together the pieces of the mystery surrounding the in-game world.

Disclosure: The Atlas Mystery provided the Hivemind reviewers with a complimentary play.

4 thoughts on “The Atlas Mystery: A VR Puzzle Game [Hivemind Review]

  1. Thank you for mentioning the motion sickness tolerance. I’ve had horrible experiences that lingered for hours so I’ll skip this one for now. Maybe they’ll fix the issue. Sound like a fun game!

  2. Are you able to walk through the game rather than traveling via joystick? I am lucky enough to have a large guardian area and I tend to try and physically walk through games that allow this in order to reduce motion sickness.

    1. Hey Justin! The game is one huge map, so while you can walk around large areas at a time, you’ll have to move with the joystick when walking between huge areas, up stairs, etc. When I was in a room that I got to interact with I’d walk around in my guardian area for most of it but would use teleport to get from area to area or explore the larger spaces. Hope that helps!

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