Critique of “Confusing Places” – Putting Conventional Puzzles to Shame – On the Road to Virtual Reality
Confusing places takes the puzzles in a new and smart direction by providing multiple difficulty of some very textured and interesting 3D scenes, making it a better experience than 2D or 3D physical puzzles in almost every way.
Confusing places Details:
Available on: Oculus Quest, (PSVR coming in 2021)
Price: $ 15
Release date: September 2, 2021
Revised on: Oculus Quest 2
The concept is simple: the game includes 16 puzzles at launch, all of which can be divided into 25, 50, 100, 200 and 400 pieces. All of the scenes are based on photogrammetry – a technique for taking high-resolution photos of a thing and stitching them together to create a 3D model – so the puzzles have an extremely lifelike quality that fully man-made objects do. generally not. Click the pieces together in any order you want and voila: you have a little detailed model of something cool in front of you.
In Confusing places you will be able to build things like thousand-year-old temples in Armenia, a delicate and expressive Japanese kimono, and a densely packed living room in Sweden which, when pushed to the maximum difficulty of 400 pieces, becomes an assortment of chairs, rich tapestries, and all kinds of adornments that can take you literal hours to put together. Playing Confusing places can really be as simple as clicking a large stretch of beach like Hot Wheels tracks, or going to match tiny pieces of houses that all look very similar.
After the tutorial, the game first offers you to go through some 25-piece puzzles to get you started. Beyond that, you won’t hear any sound from the game, even if you head to more difficult puzzle setups. Although the full range of puzzles available at launch feels quite a few, all the puzzles have been carefully fragmented from 25 to 400 pieces so that you can play each level as if it were new. There are several hours of puzzles here and Realities.io promises more is yet to come after launch. A little more in trouble in Immersion although.
Either way, here’s a great mixed reality look at what it feels like to bring in. Confusing places, courtesy of Fabio Dela Antonio:
The first time I played @PuzzlingPlaces it was still in beta, and it’s now available on the Oculus store so I had to try recording it in #MixedReality again. There were a few video artifacts, but the game ran perfectly and it has so many new puzzles now 😃 #OculusQuest2 #VR pic.twitter.com/WFB6gYsi0a
— Fabio Dela Antonio (@fabio914) September 3, 2021
As with conventional puzzles, you’re not only responsible for matching the jagged edges of each piece, but also keeping an eye out for the different textures in the image and their alignment. An effective puzzle tends to put pieces together and solve the most obvious items first, which thankfully is a simple thing in Confusing places since you can easily summon pieces from the back panel of the puzzle and either leave them anywhere in the air or put them back anywhere on the board you want. Once you’ve created your room sorting system the real challenge begins and you are forced to examine every aspect of the room, looking for more contextual clues such as sewing patterns, building shadows. and the logical flow from one to the other. Is it a little chandelier, or maybe a chair leg?
By default, a few reference images taken from different angles are placed at your feet, but if you’re looking for a real challenge, you can turn them off and tackle each puzzle without really knowing the end result.
There are two tools in the game to make things easier, although they are definitely more suitable for users who tackle advanced puzzles as many can be done by hand. Tools include “Grouping” and “Transparent”, which respectively allow you to group rooms for better organization and temporarily make rooms invisible so you can work on darkened rooms like interiors. You will see those projected on the back panel where you can select them and summon them just like you do with a puzzle piece. However, none of the tools felt vital to me for solving puzzles, as I almost immediately forgot about them as I continued to select, arrange, and put together scenes naturally.
Fortunately, pausing and resuming a gaming session is easy. It remembers each move of a part thanks to the local automatic saving function. You can also save up to four profiles so that you can share the game with your friends and family.
Okay, I said it was better than 2D and 3D physics puzzles in almost every way, although it notably lacks an inherent tactility that you might find important for the whole process of building things. with your own hands – or rather, two ovoid hands. While realism suffers a bit here due to the abstract hand patterns, the pieces automatically “cluster” when you adjust them close enough, and that in itself is quite satisfying.
Not as satisfying as picking up a piece and putting it together, but on the other hand, you also don’t have to worry about breaking a piece that is supposed to fit together properly or losing a piece. The game even cheers you on with sound effects once you’ve hit your penultimate move and gives you a little celebration after the last piece is put on.
The puzzles are incredibly detailed and vary in size. At first playing through the 25 piece difficulty level, I thought not being able to inspect the creations in more detail was a missed opportunity. You can’t just zoom in and out of the puzzle to see more. However, the puzzles physically scale up based on difficulty, so you’ll get a good look at each scene as you scour through piles of stones and golden relics galore in the 400-piece range.
The environments are pretty straightforward, offering either a grassy reed pattern by default, or a skybox with varying color themes that you can change via the Color-Picker tool. You’ll find it next to the other two puzzle-solving tools on the back panel.
Because your confusing environment is so straightforward – presumably so as not to step on the toes of its unique and detailed photogrammetric puzzles – the game has ostensibly focused on audio to bring you closer to the essence of each puzzle. Various parts of the puzzle trigger an audible signal, such as when you hear the sprinklers turn on after you have entered the Biarritz Puzzle Lighthouse golf course. It’s lovely and immersive, although the ambient sounds have personally become a bit too repetitive and distracting for me in longer sessions.
As you can imagine, the default control scheme is extremely simple. The index trigger performs a dual function and works both for selecting and holding parts, which can be a bit tiring if you are going for a long session. “Tiring” is a relative term, I guess. You might not be used to holding your arms at 45 degrees for 30 minutes straight, but that’s what it takes to play. I didn’t have a problem with that, but it’s still a fair warning.
I wish the grip button was used for this due to common design conventions, but the game reserves it in a grip-the-world style method of locomotion (the B + Y grip also works here). I didn’t particularly like the locomotion implementation here, as you have to physically press the grip button on each controller to move anywhere, instead of grabbing one naturally and moving forward like this. in many games that use convention.
Always, Confusing places has a good range of options when it comes to how you want to play, so you don’t have to virtually move around if you don’t want to. You can sit still and select and summon coins from afar, stand upright for greater maneuverability, and at room scale you can physically walk to the coins on the back panel and grab them naturally. You can also select a 360 mode that takes the back panel and wraps it around you, eliminating the need to navigate the back panel menu tab in larger puzzles. At the end, Confusing places is one of the most comfortable games since every move you make is 1: 1 with the real world.
Confusing places Comfort settings – September 2, 2021
|Smooth turn||n / A|
|Adjustable speed||n / A|
|Snap-tour||n / A|
|Adjustable increments||n / A|
|Smooth travel||n / A|
|Adjustable speed||n / A|
|Teleportation-displacement||n / A|
|Head based||n / A|
|Controller based||n / A|
|Interchangeable movement hand||n / A|
|Languages||n / A|
|Two hands required||??|
|True squatting required||??|
|Adjustable player height||??|