The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets (PlayStation 4) Review

By Luke Hemming 25.04.2020

Review for The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets  on PlayStation 4

In this reviewer's opinion, storytelling has been left by the wayside when it comes to VR titles. Opting more for the spectacular and grandiose sequences to sell copies, the magic of an interesting and charming narrative has often been lost. It's with that in mind then that The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets thankfully strays away from trying to showboat, and delivers an intimate and delightful experience for any age to enjoy.

Framed in the childhood bedroom of the protagonist, a grandfather reminiscing on the happiest times of his life, his grandchildren visiting for the summer sets the scene beautifully from the outset. Each excerpt of his tale is then literally framed within a portrait on the wall or shelf surround. With a quick click these pictures are transformed into living breathing worlds primed for manipulation. It's clear that a great deal of time and love has been poured into ensuring each world is not only as varied as possible, but full of life.

From overgrown woods to winter wonderlands, a real hook is ploughing through to see what the next level will capture the imagination with. Using either the move or standard PS4 controller, each is easy to manipulate allowing these dioramas to be spun, pulled and played with, to your heart's content. Experimentation is the name of the game and each successful yank or twist is usually greeted by more narrative as granddad tells tales of sibling rivalry, vacations, and endless summers.

A good rule of thumb is if it moves, prod it. Levels are simple to work out, with the main aim being to find the titular titled stolen pets. Most are easy to uncover, but there is surprising depth on what is required to find every hidden mammal. For example, trains may need to be redirected, or virtual tea brewed and boiled before another part of the environment opens up for exploration. Don't be fooled by the cutesy looks, some puzzles require some serious thought to ensure that all collectibles and animals can be found.

Screenshot for The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets  on PlayStation 4

It's with this that The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets really finds its feet… or paws, if you will. Younger gamers could easily be introduced to the world of VR through this game, and instantly fall in love with it. Watching clay characters popping out from doors, waving hello, and generally going about their business is going to enthral. Perhaps even playing this while they watch is the way to go with them, sure to point out and scream with delight at the TV as another stone is unturned.

Curiosity often leads to pleasure, and as the world changes around the impact being made on it, more and more the feeling of hidden depth grows. Not only are pets up for grabs, but also collectible 'pocket money' too, littered throughout and given away by a sparkle on the landscape. For all of the fascination to be found by younger audiences, the challenge involved in finding every collectable, pet and pocket money can be quite the tough deal for an actual adult.

Often puzzles require some real lateral thinking to pave the way towards success. This reviewer on more than one occasion took far longer than he should have looking for the "Eureka" moment needed to progress. Don't let the design fool you, this is no walk in the park, snowfield, or otherwise. At no time however is there a feeling of being completely bamboozled, and the sheer thrill of seeing what new fantastical world grandfather's story is going to lead to, is the virtual carrot on the stick for the pet rabbits trying to remain undiscovered.

Screenshot for The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets  on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

The most enjoyable sessions when indulging in VR have been hidden gems like this. The medium has been out long enough now that the big showy set pieces aren't going to cut the mustard anymore. Gamers are looking for memorable, thought out experiences, and The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets sticks the landing. Titles like this are thought provoking, delightful experiences that live long in the memory. Although gameplay is simple, and once all aspects have been completed is unlikely to be revisited as a solo effort, this is going to be the VR benchmark for introducing a younger, as well as quirkier audience to what the little black headset can achieve with enough love and care behind it.

Developer

Fast Travel Games

Publisher

Fast Travel Games

Genre

Puzzle

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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