Saturday, November 16, 2019

Accounting+ (PS VR)

In 2016, Dr. Langeskov, The Tiger, and The Terribly Cursed Emerald: A Whirlwind Heist (Dr. Langeskov) developer Crows Crows Crows released a VR game for PC called Accounting, in collaboration with Justin Roiland’s studio Squanchtendo (Squanch Games). In 2017, an updated version known as Accounting+ was released for PS VR, which is when I became more interested in actually playing it, even more so after experiencing Trover Saves the Universe. It wasn’t until a physical version was offered via Limited Run that I was actually able to get my hands on a copy of the game; upon getting around to playing it, I found the wait to be worth it.

After an introduction to the controls by a disembodied voice named Clovis, you start off in an accounting office. After receiving a phone call from your bosses, they give you a VR headset with the intention of being able to do accounting work in virtual reality without any need for physical work. Things quickly go off the rails from here.

Without spoiling too much about the story, the execution is sort of like Dr. Langeskov mixed with the style of humor present in Rick and Morty, the latter of which actually gets referenced by name a number of times in the game, including a handful of memes from the show during the tutorial. In spite of how crazy it gets, the story isn’t that difficult to follow, although being placed on the receiving end of the Rick and Morty-type humor can lead to minor confusion at times; often a character will berate you for doing certain heinous actions in a level even though it was literally your only option to advance. There’s also a handful of secret levels that each have their own requirements (including a second pass at a level) to access.

The insanity starts here.

The VR gameplay is fairly simple, though interesting. While you can freely look around a level, you must use a button to turn yourself in order to retain the proper orientation, that being the direction you are facing in relation to the camera. Moving throughout levels is done by focusing on certain waypoints, called PlaceStations, and using a button to travel between them. Interestingly, the game offers the option to use a standard controller or a PlayStation Move controller(s), although when trying the former I quickly found that to be a lot more awkward than using the latter. A nice touch that I thought sold the premise of the game more is that a computer mouse cursor is used to depict your controller, including it changing to a pointing finger when interacting with objects.

The graphics use a style somewhat reminiscent of Rick and Morty, though not quite to the same extent of Squanch Games’ later title Trover Saves the Universe. This doesn’t stop the game from getting frankly a little disturbing at times, to the point where during one secret level I was a little afraid to look at it through the VR headset directly. Nevertheless, the game is mostly bright and colorful, with lots of appropriately-designed and well-detailed environments that leave you guessing what you might run into next.

The game also features good voice acting, with a good number of characters voiced by Justin Roiland such that it shows off his vocal range to a decent extent. A handful of characters are also notably voiced by Crows Crows Crows lead William Pugh, with his performance as the main menu voice Clovis being particularly humorous alongside Roiland. Interestingly, one of the characters found during the end game was redubbed by Reggie Watts for the PS4 version when it was originally voiced by Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon, though I’m not sure why this change was made.

Accounting+ is a surreal, yet enjoyable VR experience. While it doesn’t take that long to complete, it features some clever gameplay and level design alongside some humorous writing and voice acting. That being said, it’s not a VR experience for everyone, but I would highly recommend it to fans of Rick and Morty and/or Trover Saves the Universe due to sharing a similar style of humor.

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