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Myst VR Review: A Classic Evolves With The Ages

Myst is highly regarded as one of the most important PC games of all-time and now the original developers have rebuilt it for VR for a brand new generation. Read on for our full Myst VR review.

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In the first hour of Myst VR you realize you should grab a notebook for recording clues to help solve the mystery. This was true when the groundbreaking game came out in 1993, it was true for the versions released for various consoles and, later, for phones. It is also true for the newest version of the game you can play in VR — rebuilt with levels of detail likely to elicit an “oh wow” from folks who already have rich memories of Myst’s locales despite never actually “visiting” its islands.

That’s the magic of Cyan Worlds’ classic puzzler — its visuals and overall atmosphere created vivid memories despite severe computational limitations. So what to say then of the same game now that VR transports you there so much more completely? The same is still true — its visuals and overall atmosphere still create vivid memories despite severe computational limitations.

And it might just be one of the best unofficial co-op experiences you can find with an Oculus Quest.

Myst VR Review – The Facts

What is it?: Single-player puzzle game set on a mysterious island.
Platforms: Quest / Quest 2
Release Date: December 10th, 2020
Price: $29.99

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Myst VR is really a single-player game, of course, but the honest truth is that it was always hard and could test the patience of a single human well past the point of quitting. This is a game about paying attention to your environment and trying things out until you figure out what works. So you’ll hear stories of families sitting down around the old computer in shifts with a pencil and paper notebook charting out their clues and theories as a shared journey. Myst can be played similarly in VR.

Sure you could take a book from the library on Myst island and walk over to manipulate a puzzle with the reference book full of clues in your free hand, but I played Myst VR on Quest 2 in a much more satisfying way.

I cast my view from VR so my oldest kid could see it too. She also played along using a phone loaded up with realMyst — the earlier real-time version of the game. She used a notepad at first but then we realized she could just take photos of my screencasting as a quicker way of note-taking. So we tore through the ages of Myst VR together that way.

Myst VR’s environments are realized with impressive beauty. In one of the game’s areas I caught myself staring at the sun for the longest time like Luke Skywalker on Tatooine. It also features excellent sound design and lighting, but even on Quest 2 you can see pop in of higher or lower quality textures that can be pretty distracting depending on your tolerance for it. I also accidentally teleported into a wall once and restarted the game to get out of it.

You can pull up a walkthrough from the 1990s and still use it to work through parts of the mystery again in virtual reality, or if you want to be extra confounded, you can activate puzzle randomization instead.

Myst VR Review – Comfort

Myst VR includes a number of movement options including teleport with snap turning for maximum comfort. There’s also fast travel for climbing ladders or going down stairs. As you’re likely to traverse the environments many times looking for clues, activating these options can make the game very comfortable for long play sessions even while seated.

The puzzles have also been reconstructed for more intuitive 3D interaction. For example, where there were a pair of red valves to turn and change the orientation of a clock in the original game, in the new version there’s a dial with a short and long hand to move into the position you want them on the clock. Those types of changes are definitely welcome and help to reduce unnecessary frustration.

Myst VR Review Final Impressions

If you’re looking to explore Myst for the first time — or perhaps play “co-op” with family like I did — Myst VR is a definitely faithful, upgraded, and solid port of a landmark game that’s hard not to recommend everyone play at least once. It might be a little straining and lonely after a time, but that’s always been true of Myst.

For more on how we arrive at our scores, check out our review guidelines.

Myst is available now on Oculus for Quest. What did you make of our Myst review? Let us know in the comments below!

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