In Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son you play as Phil Jr, a self-absorbed social media influencer who has reluctantly returned to his hometown of Punxsutawney to attend a memorial in honour of his late father (who you'll likely remember was portrayed by Bill Murray in the 1993 movie). Mourning with his family isn't his heartfelt intention, however, as he plans to exploit this personal trip to provide more fuel for blog content. Seriously, who even follows this guy? Being caught in time we suspect must be some kind of hereditary condition, as Phil Jr. finds himself reliving the same day over and over as if he was serving some kind of twisted punishment for his selfish actions.
After realising it wasn't simply just a batch of bad mushrooms it soon dawns on Phil Jr that the only way to break free from this hellish cycle is to show compassion for others and help them with their personal struggles. In the first scene, for example, your niece crashes through the wall of the house in a blind rage as she is ridiculed for her punk-rock tastes and is subject to the full brunt of her father's anger for not keeping a close eye on her siblings. In order for the day to progress as intended, you need to defuse the situation before things start to escalate otherwise your niece finds herself in hospital again and the day will repeat.
Solving these aforementioned issues often requires you to complete puzzles in VR and these can be as simplistic as finding a way of stopping a window being shattered by a snowball, through to repairing the sparking interior of a defunct cappuccino machine. We found these puzzles were often hilarious distractions and they usually functioned pretty well when using the Move controllers in VR.
Alumni from the 1993 movie sadly don't make a return but the new ensemble does a serviceable enough job with Garrett Schweighauser stealing the show as lead Phil Jr. There's an ample supply of dialogue options at your disposal and we loved how these would become evermore crass as Phil shrugged off his shame realising that his day would once more reset. We liked seeing how these interactions would progress once Phil Jr. approached them again with newfound snippets of information from his previous loops.
Repetition is ingrained in the very premise itself but it's to Groundhog Day's detriment that we were forced to replay an entire day for something as small as forgetting to shake a cocktail when handing it over to our date. We get that the perfect day has to be realised for things to progress but perhaps a more lenient checkpoint system would save things from feeling like such a slog. Another issue that we encountered was that characters would occasionally talk over one another as is if they were in some kind of shouting match and the dialogue felt unnecessarily littered with profanities, perhaps in an attempt to sound edgy.
Like Father Like Son is playable purely in VR and you'll need a pair of Move controllers to join in on the action as its not compatible with a DualShock 4. Navigation felt stiff and we were prevented from exploring the full scope of our surroundings as we were restricted to moving to a few fixed locales. Interacting with objects within the world was simplistic though as the move controllers allowed us to command a floating pair of hands as if they were an extension of our body. That said, we would find ourselves clumsily knocking objects all over the place when trying to complete something as straightforward as making breakfast.
Like Father Like Son may sound like a strange fit for the PSVR platform but it manages to deliver. It's a solid addition to the VR catalogue as well as a competent successor to the 1993 movie, and we loved how the time loop plot transitioned well into a puzzle format as we pieced together what needed to be done as we worked towards having the perfect day. Sadly the original cast is nowhere to be seen and we had a few minor issues relating to its repetitive nature and the clunky navigation, however, these are minor flaws at best and didn't stop us from having a great time in Punxsutawney.
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