Tethered Divine Edition Review- Cute “God-Sim” with Issues

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Posted April 20, 2017 by Thomas James Juretus in Video Games

Developer: Secret Sorcery

Publisher: Secret Sorcery

Release date: December 6, 2016

Available on: PSVR, PS4 (reviewed)

Tethered was originally released as a VR title. The “god-sim”/strategy game garnered mostly favorable reviews, requiring players to take control of Peeps (little creatures bearing more than a little resemblance to a certain Lombax) and helping them restore a series of floating islands. Developer Secret Sorcery then released a Divine Edition, which included the base game along with a them for your PS4 and the bright, pleasant soundtrack by Kenneth Young (Tearaway Unfolded, LittleBigPlanet 3). The game could now be played with the PS4’s Dualshock controller as well as with PSVR.

I haven’t played the VR version (to be honest, have avoided VR, since I can be prone to occasional motion sickness), so I can’t vouch for how well the game plays in that mode. Using the Dualshock controller, however, makes it apparent that VR is the optimal way to play. With the controller, you get your choice of two control schemes. One allows you to use the Dualshock as a motion controller, using the X button along with the shoulder buttons when prompted. This was definitely the worse version for me, as every slight movement caused the picture on my TV to bounce all over the place. The second scheme maps the movement/tracking to the right analog stick. This method was easier on the eyes (and less dizziness inducing) but felt a bit clumsy, as now all of your basic controls for the game were all located on the right side of the controller. It’s serviceable, but not as smooth as it could be.

The basic control scheme has you highlight a Peep, hold down the X button, and then move the cursor over to whatever area or task you wish said Peep to go to/perform, and then release the X button to form a tether. The Peep will then move on his own. However, once the Peep is finished with his task, he will require direction again. At first, this isn’t too bad. There are resources to gather and other Peep eggs to hatch. As the population increases it begins to grow more chaotic as you direct Peeps to gather crops, mine ore, chop trees, find artifacts to gain new knowledge, and construct buildings. Let a Peep stay idle for too long or allow him to go hungry and he starts to go into despair. Trying to find something to do for all your Peeps can be a little challenging and even a bit annoying once they begin to whine (a sound bound to get on some players’ nerves). Allow them to be in despair for too long, and the Peeps will leap to their deaths. If you get attached to your Peeps, this will add some emotional depth to the game. If not, you’ll be glad of one less Peep to try to find something to occupy him.

Tethers can also be formed from the various weather clouds to certain areas on the island. A snow cloud tethered to a stream will cause it to freeze over, creating an ice bridge. A sun or rain cloud attached to crops will aid them to grow. Clouds can also be tethered together to form new clouds. Combine a rain and snow cloud will give you one that produces deadly lightning. Mix a sun cloud with any other and you get a rainbow cloud that can promote healing. The game also has a day/night cycle, with nighttime bringing forth slug-like creatures that can kill your Peeps or damage structures. Tethering a Peep to one of these creatures enters you into combat. You’ll need to watch the health on those Peeps that engage in fighting, and replenish them as needed. It adds another layer to the proceedings, putting a little action into an otherwise peaceful game.

There are thirteen islands in total (a tutorial island plus twelve others), each with their own tasks to accomplish and resources to gather. Gameplay doesn’t vary much from one island to another, with each one taking around an hour or two to revitalize. This can make the game a bit repetitious for some players, and some may grow a bit bored as things go on. For those who enjoy these type of games and especially grow fond of the Peeps will get the most out of this title. The soundtrack does help make things somewhat pleasant, and there can be a bit of satisfaction to be found helping the Peeps bring these islands to life.

In all, Tethered is a decent but not really outstanding game. It delivers on the “god-sim”/strategy premise competently enough, but really adds nothing new to the genre. The repetitious gameplay can cause some to abandon the game before completing all the islands, while others will find the Peeps endearing and revel in creating a good world for them to inhabit. If you have VR, that would seem to be he optimal way to play, as using the regular Dualshock controller can be nausea inducing or too clumsy for some players. That clumsy control can mar the overall experience for some. For those who can adapt better to the control issues there’s a pleasant enough game here to occupy 15-20 hours of your time.





60

Final Score

6/10

    Pros

    • Peeps are cute
    • Good musical score
    • Nice graphics

    Cons

    • Control schemes can feel clumsy
    • So-so gameplay
    • Some may experience motion sickness



    About the Author

    Thomas James Juretus