One of the best things about VR for me has been the way how puzzles have become increasingly interactive. Akin to real toys in some ways, you can twist, pull, throw, flip, rotate and do all kinds of wonderful things with puzzle boxes. Taking this puzzle box idea into a puzzle island format, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is one of most adorable games I’ve played in recent memory.
Across five islands, various stop-motion plasticine styled pets have been hidden from view and the islands are full of simple puzzles for you to explore, solve and recover these pets. Each island is themed so there’s a snowy mountain, a tropical one that floods underwater, a hilltop village, a magic kingdom and a prehistoric volcano. They all have environmental puzzles to solve, objects to find, treasure chests to unlock and doing so is an utter joy. Use a hairdryer to melt snow or shake new snow from a salt bottle. Unplug a sink drain to raise an island from the sea. The graphical style mixes real world objects into these miniature cute worlds like a fever dream as that is exactly what the game is. The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is all about reconciliation between two siblings and you are diving back through childhood memories. Guided by your uncle, you’ll learn to forgive and it is all very sweet and heartwarming.
Added to the ease of puzzle movement (you can zoom and rotate using the move controllers easily and fluidly) and the graphical beauty is the superb soundtrack. Wintergarten creates a whimsical and reflective mood that is also playful with their melodic glockenspiel-esque vibes. It really adds to the whole experience and is a key cornerstone of the game.
I have literally one negative – its length. I completed the game in just under an hour and a half. I found all the pets and hidden coins within two hours. Whilst you can reset your progress and just interact with the world too, this will come with diminished returns and so for its full price point, things are over just a bit too quickly. Another two worlds would have balanced this out and so for this reason alone, I recommend this VR beauty whenever its on a 33% sale on more as a must buy. If its full price, perhaps its less of an immediate purchase. It did leave me feeling a warm glow in my heart afterwards though and not many games can say that.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets
Beautifully put together and easy to play, its just over way too soon.
Awesome fever dream style of real and magical worlds collided.
Responsive, easy controls make playing the game a dream. Perfect for youngsters and VR newbies.
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