Review: Boneworks

Virtual Reality has had a rough past, beginning with nausea inducing 32-bit boxes fueled by poor financial decisions. VR has changed a lot in the last few decades, and is finally becoming worth the fancy name. 

Virtual reality didn’t exactly have a perfect start. The idea hasn’t changed much over the last few years, but the execution has improved immensely. Some of the first games and applications would perform poorly and cause headaches and buyers remorse. 

Recently, VR’s primary use can be seen more in entertainment, with the production of new games taking greater advantage of VR’s capabilities in games like Boneworks, a VR shooter game designed with the Valve Index’s knuckle controllers. These controllers fully track the users hand and finger movements in game, and the game’s main functions depends on these controllers.

PLAYER’S PERSPECTIVE: Boneworks is played in first person, allowing for a realistic access to the environment and different mechanics. Photo from official Boneworks trailer.

In Boneworks, players progress through the story completing various puzzles and defeating enemies with the large array of weapons at the players disposal, like guns, swords, grenades, and more. The puzzles use the physics and environment to create challenging situations you have to think hard about to overcome. Enemies in boneworks are lifeless robots who attack the player in various ways.  Whether the game tasks users with climbing up a shelf to get extra ammo or taking out a room of enemies, everything feels complete. Boneworks’ story sets the player exploring an ominous world, slowly discovering the inner workings of an artificial intelligence company named Monogon. In the game you are trying to escape from Monogons’ large research facility, picking up new items and weapons along the way to get past the challenges ahead. The game’s mechanics and story are well developed and feels complete, which is uncommon in VR games; usually recognized for being rushed. 

Boneworks’ developers focused on the physics of the game, with the player interactions within the environment being the smoothest in any VR game so far. This ease gives the player a unique experience that’s very rare in VR. In most VR shooters, the gun components snap together uncomfortably, leaving a sour taste for the player. But in Boneworks, everything seamlessly interacts and provides a more satisfying experience.

Boneworks is a clear homage to Valve’s classic titles like the Half-Life series, but it improves the experience with a well executed physics engine and interactable environment. It has definitely set itself as a major milestone in VR entertainment and brings hope for what’s to come in the future.