It’s a love letter to VR, in the form of questions that will likely be familiar with dedicated VR fans. “Where do thoughts go?” is one of the most common questions about VR, so it’s no surprise this title would take on that concept.
The premise behind Where Thoughts GO is simple – you are standing on an island at night, surrounded by water. There is someone out there in the darkness, but they’re too far away to see their face. Simply stated, your job is to talk to them and draw them closer until you can finally see who they are. It begins simply enough with some instructions about moving around, then adds some variants like teleporting or walking along railroad tracks laid into the ground (a cute reference to the classic PC adventure game Myst).
The environment is lavishly and lovingly detailed, and the way it changes as you progress through the story adds both to the immersion and moves things along. Some objects become lit with faint lightbulbs that are only visible when focused on, some trees will sway in time with gusts of wind. It all builds together into an impressive package that looks just as good on a base PS4 as it does on the Oculus Quest – so much so I had briefly wondered if they were downgraded or something before realizing it was actually making use of the depth cameras for more accurate positional tracking.
Where Thoughts Go is not perfect though. Smaller objects can be difficult to focus on at times, particularly those which are tiny or thin. While this is usually a problem with the Quest’s tracking abilities rather than the game itself, there were times where it was difficult to make out objects even when they should have been quite obvious. This happened most often when I wanted to read signs at a distance, but also on occasion with trees blowing in the wind or during otherwise busy scenes.
Additionally, some of the layout choices are less than ideal for VR comfort – while overall it feels well designed, more frequently than not you are forced to walk directly into walls and sometimes rooms do not connect properly which can lead to being stuck between two spaces without any recourse or way to move on. Getting specifically stuck three times over multiple playthroughs is probably more an indicator of my personal skills at VR than it is about any specific design flaw, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Despite that, Where Thoughts Go is a beautifully put together package that feels like the lovechild of Dear Angelica and Myst. Somewhat along the lines of those titles, it takes something very familiar and builds out from there – in this case, you can easily imagine an old Zelda or adventure game being turned into a VR title instead. It’s fairly short to finish, clocking in at 90-120 minutes depending on your pace, so don’t expect a sprawling epic for this price tag. But if you want to take a pleasant journey through a bright & lovely world then Where Thoughts GO will deliver on that front with ease.