Time Stall is an Oculus Quest game developed by Ayoba Games Studio. The review will be written in 2 parts – the first 6 hours, which are entirely on one mission that becomes unlocked after the tutorial level, and then the remainder of what has been experienced so far in free play mode.
The player takes control of their children’s favourite toy, a stuffed monkey named “Monkey”, which they have left at home whilst they go on holiday to Africa. It turns out that Monkey is no ordinary plush toy however when he comes to life with special powers when his kid owners are not around!
To start this article off, here are some thoughts on Time Stall as a whole
– Enemies come off feeling quite generic initially but progress as the game does and feel more unique later on
– The dialogue is genuinely funny and endearing, despite having to read everything
– Requiring the controller to be used for some actions (gripping objects and zipping along lines), as well as placing it flat when entering a portal (which has an animation where you see your character actually place the controller down), becomes very natural over time. However, this means that there are few opportunities for multiplayer use of VR headsets in Time Stall, which is a shame because the entirety of the gameplay could have been made accessible co-op or singleplayer with VR headsets if common VR-related problems such as local storage had been taken into consideration earlier on
Here are some thoughts about the early part of the game, taken from my first 6 hours (and lots of trial and error)
– The tutorial level is very easy and teaches you all you need to know in order to play the actual game. It also jogs your memory on what happened before it if you have not played for a while
– The music is decent – I particularly enjoyed the African theme that plays whilst exploring a cavern near a waterfall at nighttime
– The dialogue between characters is fantastic, especially when trying to get someone’s attention after they have been ignoring you for a bit too long (e.g “Hey! Are you blind?”)
– Some players might find this short section too easy or just plain boring, but I enjoyed it
– I really like the game’s visuals – they are unique, cute and distinct from other VR games currently available
– It took me until my very last section of gameplay before I was able to find all of the collectables here
– The use of items so far feels quite limited (for example, you need another item in order to open a door at one point) – however, it should be noted that this is only an early part of the game and there may be other uses for items later on
– There were no objectives other than the main objective during these first 6 hours. Instead, if players can see something in the distance but cannot get there just yet due to obstacles or because another character does not want them going in that direction, then they just have to wait until the situation changes
– The dialogue seemed very easy to skip over when getting close to a character and pressing X. This means fewer players will read the dialogue than need be
– I wish there were subtitles or some kind of text popup for when characters speak in another language – it might help if this is not your first VR game and you know what different languages sound like!
Here are my overall thoughts on Time Stall so far:
Time Stall is a good VR game with good visuals and atmosphere (thanks to its African theme), genuinely funny dialogue and decent gameplay mechanics (although it could do with more features such as multiplayer). However, due to some small problems such as no enemies in the first section, some dialogue being too easy to skip and no subtitles when characters speak in a different language, it does feel like this game could be better. Players can find out for themselves if they want to try the free demo available in the Oculus Store (which includes about an hour’s worth of gameplay) and see what Time Stall is like for themselves before deciding whether or not to purchase it.