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Mixture

Mixture

We're putting yet another PS VR2 title to the test to see if it has something to it.

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Every time I step into virtual reality, it is with a great deal of joy and anticipation, despite the fact that I have long since realised, somewhat bitterly, that most of the experiences offered by the format do not reach great heights. Still, I can't help but hope that I will be entertained. A bit naïve, perhaps, but there is something about putting on the helmet and disappearing into a world that appeals to me. I think the format itself and the experience it uniquely offers has enormous potential, but luckily I'm such a seasoned gaming veteran that I can spot a bad game no matter how cool I think VR is. The immediate attraction doesn't matter if the game later turns out to be boring.

Sola is the name of the little knight in shining armour that I control through this fantasy adventure. The concept itself is inspired by the fantastic Moss titles that I think belong to the upper echelon of really good VR experiences. I follow Sola from an elevated perspective while acting as a kind of helping hand with the hardships she faces. The main game mechanics are both clever and frustrating at the same time, and ironically both enhance and detract from the experience. Around the environments are various forms of substances I can collect, I can then open a wheel and fill a bottle that I can throw to affect both environments and enemies. The very first is something similar to glue that, for example, closes off gaps, or causes enemies to get stuck. The second allows Sola to bounce on platforms, for example, or turns enemies into guiding projectiles.

Mixture
The environments are colourful but the edgy style makes them feel rather dull.

It's a quirky, interactive and fun concept that is widely used. However, the execution isn't quite perfect in either fiddling with the wheel where I choose which substance to fill a bottle with, and throwing it is something that isn't always successful. Even with an automatic aim, the bottles fall too short, or don't go anywhere at all, but it does work most of the time. However, it becomes quite frustrating in battles or when a moment of platforming requires timing and is something that would have needed to be polished a bit to work well. The idea of controlling the hero with a joystick and buttons while also using your hands and making movements feels good, but here it would have needed to work even better for this to really enhance the game.

Aside from some environment-based puzzles, there is plenty of combat in Mixture. It likes to throw multiple enemies at you at the same time and the use of the aforementioned bottle of glue is a good tool here, logically enough because it makes enemies stop for a short period of time. Otherwise, Sola can dodge attacks with a quick movement. The game sometimes locks some areas where you have to defeat all enemies before you can move on and there are several of these moments that feel like they are directly inspired by Moss, so if you have played it there is a lot that is recognisable. However, much of the charm found in those games is missing, especially the fairy-tale charm and a story that accompanies the adventure. There is such a story, but it is incredibly lacking and no characters or cutscenes do much to add any kind of excitement.

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Mixture
The VR format offers some interesting and immersive opportunities.

The design and music is also unfortunately quite drab. There are some good and magnificent moments where VR gets to shine a bit and the views and levels are in some places quite powerful, albeit rather bare and not so aesthetically pleasing. There are sharp colours and good contrasts but there are a lot of barren and rocky landscapes that are poor in detail and life. The problem is very much that even when things like flora and environments are varied, the visual style still makes everything seem to be moulded in the same angular template. Also, the characters have a kind of mumbling The Sims-like language instead of real voices which doesn't feel very well done. The graphics are far from ugly but nothing that really impresses.

Mixture is generally quite fun but the entertainment is unfortunately dragged down by a few simple things. For one thing, Sola moves rather sluggishly and for those of us who like to turn the camera completely, rather than letting it jump around, even this feels desperately slow to do. This results in an overall pace and flow that doesn't really appeal to me as I would have liked a lot more agility and speed. Over time you can unlock more attacks and other upgrades which makes such things slightly better, but it's still a shame that the speed of the character I control and the camera feels far too slow.

Mixture
The game's first boss immediately teaches you how to use the different bottles. Unfortunately, it is sometimes too clumsy to aim correctly.
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Mixture is a mixed bag. It has a unique concept of collecting materials and using them, and you feel involved when you get to do more than just control the character. The perspective used, as we have seen in Moss and Astro Bot, makes it all functional and clear. There is a hint of imagination that still makes it fairly fun, but at the same time it feels rather visually boring and in the end it is just a fine adventure both as a game and as an experience in VR.

06 Gamereactor UK
6 / 10
+
Fun to throw bottles. Some fun sections that take advantage of the VR format.
-
Inconsistent aiming system. Slow hero and sluggish camera. Boring design.
overall score
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Mixture

REVIEW. Written by Conny Andersson

We're putting yet another PS VR2 title to the test to see if it has something to it.



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