Location-based entertainment (LBE) is becoming an important revenue stream for a lot of virtual reality (VR) developers. It’s why in VR arcades you’ll see well-known titles for home headsets reworked for venues as well as original IP’s. This is sort of the case with Corsair’s Curse a team-based puzzle solver from the Innerspace VR team, who’ve loosely based the LBE title on their last consumer release A Fisherman’s Tale.
Still featuring a nautical theme, rather than being a humble fisherman you’re now placed in the role of a pirate, and what do pirate’s always want? Treasure of course. In Corsair’s Curse you play a greedy pirate cursed by pirate captain Corsair whilst looking for his treasure. Turned into wooden dolls you and your teammates need to solve Corsair’s puzzles to break the curse.
Designed for up to four players, Corsair’s Curse always needs a minimum of two because of the way the puzzles are designed. Using HTC Vive Pro’s, backpack PC’s and Vive wireless adaptors the tech allows for complete free-roaming but the title doesn’t require major amounts of space. This is because once you’re inside the galleon most items are nearby, particularly useful for VR arcades which don’t have loads of space. Plus the fact up to four people need to occupy the area.
As an arcade experience designed to be inclusive no matter the skill level before the main game begins there’s time to get acclimatised to VR, great for new players. Set on a desert island there’s a mirror so you can see your avatar as well as a range of hats to customise your ideal pirate look. Peer past the mirror and your teammate is on the other side, so you can shout, wave or simply taunt them if you wish (great for building that pirate moral).
Inside the ship both players are separated so they can’t directly help each other but they can offer guidance – think of game shows like the Crystal Maze. For those that have played A Fisherman’s Tale then you’ll also notice another theme come into play, scale and perspective. Innerspace VR loves to play with size in VR so in Corsair’s Curse one player was huge while the other was tiny.
Most of the puzzles had a dual effect, completing one would then unlock the next for the other player. For example, playing as the tiny pirate one of the puzzles included firing a cannon. Gunpowder needed to be mixed and put in place, then a cannonball loaded before finding a flaming torch to light the fuse. The target was in the other players’ side, blasting a hole to locate a hidden object.
All of which meant teamwork was key adding to the overall experience. Neither person could succeed without the other, offering a decent sense of camaraderie once complete. It’s also worth noting that not all the puzzles were used, certain sections of the ship which looked interactive weren’t, possibly only becoming available when four players are present. VRFocus did learn however that there weren’t massive variations in the experience, so if two players came back again the puzzles would be the same.
Corsair’s Curse is ideal for those stepping into a VR arcade for the first time, rather than some intense first-person shooter (FPS). There’s time to learn the basics and the joy of VR gaming, picking stuff up, the visual impact of scale and much more. The replay factor might be somewhat muted after a couple of sessions but with a few friends, it’s still worth playing.