Accounting + For Playstation VR: Nick's Review

Consumer VR is still experimenting, some two years after it has become widely available and five or so after the early models of Oculus Rift started floating around. It's one of the most exciting platforms for video games in particular because it's the first platform in some time that is still improving. All most consoles can do any more is make the games look more detailed and able to handle more at once. VR, however, is growing in what it can do in terms of scale, and all without making users feel nauseous. Making an Open World game on consoles is standard practice, but it's not as easy to pull off in a VR setting. So developers are forced to wrap their head around making game concepts that can be greatly enhanced in VR. A few titles I have played have been excellent sort of "What if" concepts for what a full fledged, 30 Hour game made for VR could be like. Enter Accounting +, one of those titles that has all the foundation for a creative gem that would be looked back at for years to come. It's not that game yet, but hopefully, it will be.

The story of Accounting + is about the player, the nameless accountant, trying out this VR accounting software, which goes array and he keeps teleporting to different randomized locations. The overarching story isn't the important part, as it's just the floor for the humor to dance on. An excuse to teleport you to these crazy rooms with their own funny situations. One of the first characters you encounter, the tree guy, is constantly screaming at you to stop whatever you are doing. You can pick up a seed and he'll scream something along the lines of "Stop it! That's my seed! Stop touching my seed! Get out of here!" and go on and on for way longer than most will bother to listen. Congratulations, it's a funny joke, and you have heard the rough majority of the jokes that Accounting + has to offer. In the ballpark of 75% of the humor comes from the fact that the characters won't shut up. Grant it, it's done in a number of ways. There's Character who's angry and shouts a lot, character who's annoying and talks a lot, group that talks alot collectively, character who talks to himself a lot in a creepy way, and the list goes on, each providing their own unique effect to the gag. I give it a bit of a pass because of that variety, and the fact that the experience is roughly 45 minutes. It goes by so fast that the joke doesn't ware too thin, but on repeated playthroughs, it becomes more and more disappointing. I would have appreciated it more if there was more of a variety in the type of humor portrayed, allowing each place you visit to feel even more distinct from each other. It's fine as is, but it could have been so much more

Accounting +'s most similar genre would be the point and click adventure, where you go from spot to spot in a room and examine things. You solve some not so complicated puzzles so you can be teleported to the next area, and experience the wit on display there as well. It's not terribly exciting stuff, but what I find more interesting about it is the multiple routes you can take. Some rooms have multiple solutions, teleporting you to a different area than you may have on your last run through. For example, if you plant a seed in the first room, maybe later on down the line it'll grow and turn into a way to teleport you to a whole new room. It really adds to the replay value, even though there are only about 10 or 12 rooms in total. I think it shows more of it's potential as a game, but even so, you can probably do everything possible in Accounting + in an evening. Not that that's an inherently bad thing, but it just comes across as a nice pizza slice of a bigger game that doesn't exist.

There's a game I'm quite fond of on the Sega CD called "Panic!". In it, you play as a child and his dog as they try to save the world from electronic devices that have gone haywire. They hit a button on some kind of electronic device and either warp to a new location, or something unexpected happens. I’m reminded of it when I play Accounting+, and can’t help but think of how it could have been improved by Panic!. Panic! has dozens upon dozens of rooms, each with anywhere between 2 to 50 buttons, and each button corresponds to some unique scene. You can be teleported backwards to earlier rooms, blow up these hidden monuments, and keep track on the route you’ve taken. Hour after hour of potential game time, all leading up to you somehow getting to the center of it all. Each playthrough can feel unique, and could take you weeks or months to truly see everything. I want to see an Accounting + on that sort of scale, with more varieties of jokes, art styles, and secrets. I think if we were to see a game like that, VR could have a smash hit that would be unique to it’s own platform. A VR game that people can invest time into that isn’t just a VR mode attached to another game. As is though, Accounting + is pretty good. It just makes me want that full VR experience even more.

FINAL VERDICT: A nice concept

ONE SENTENCE REASONING: Accounting + is quick, funny, and leaves me wanting more than it can give.

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