Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes (KTANE) is an asymmetric cooperative game where one player (the “expert”) has to defuse a bomb with the help of another player (the “Defuser”), who can not see the bomb. The Defuser has various instructions on how to cut wires, which wire to cut, and what color the wire needs to be. The Expert has to describe this information to the Defuser before time runs out, or the bomb explodes.
The two roles are switched every five levels until either the timer reaches zero, or the expert successfully defuses all of the bombs.
I was surprised by how well KTANE incorporates VR into its gameplay.I expected to be restricted to a small set of actions such as looking at wires and cutting them, but the game allows you to fully interact with your environment. For example, when I was playing I blew up a fan and opened an electrical box. The expert also has access to tools outside their virtual reality display: they can use a physical stopwatch and a physical map of the bomb.
The pacing is well-done: there is just enough time to defuse the bombs and just enough confusion that you will probably fail without help, but not so much that it becomes frustrating. I do wish there was an option for those who are colorblind. While this didn’t affect me directly, I think it could be a major issue for some players.
I really enjoyed playing KTANE. It was challenging, rewarding, and I never felt frustrated about not being able to defuse the bombs successfully. This is probably due to its short length: you will play a few levels in a single sitting and it won’t overstay its welcome. The lack of bugs and other issues demonstrate the amount of polish that went into this game. In addition to being a great VR experience, I would also recommend it as an example of how asymmetric cooperative games can succeed in general.