I love slice of life anime and find the genre extremely relaxing, especially when eating alone. Laid Back Camp is one I’m constantly recommended but I haven’t seen it yet. When I saw the VR experiences on sale for PSVR, I thought I’d take the plunge. Whilst Laid Back Camp Virtual feels like you are inside an anime visually and audibly, its brevity and lack of interactivity drags the whole experience down.
Whilst Lake Motosu and Fomoto Campsite are two separate games, they follow the exact same structure. You are going camping for a relaxed overnight stay at the lake or the campsite. You arrive at daytime for scene one, have a light hearted event take place in scene two, cook dinner and eat for sunset in scene three before going to bed in scene four. The game then concludes with a glorious sunrise over Mt Fuji. Whilst the landscapes are different (and I’d argue Lake Motosu is prettier), the fact the games are so similar is problematic. They feel like two experiences that should be sold together as one price, not two games sold at mid tier pricing separately.
Using PSVR or TV and controller, you can move your head around and focus on objects to spark chirpy nonchalant conversation. You can also pick up your phone to take photos which you can send to your two friends not camping with you on this occasion. This sparks some text chats to fill the runtime. Each game is a single episode and you can complete them in under 30 minutes. Whilst wholesome, all you are doing is pointing at things and pressing a button to run through conversation and then moving forward. You can choose a hot drink and some food choices but that’s all the choice you have.
This is all fine as it looks, runs and sounds (subbed not dubbed) like an anime. The price point at £15.99 per game is absolute extortion though. I hear there is now a third game in Japan too and really, these should be £4.99 each at most. The content and replayability simply isn’t there. It feels like an early VR experience trying to coast on anime feel good vibes for a higher price point. I’m delighted these games made it west but I doubt the already tiny audience would jump in at that price and nor should they. Yes, niche titles may carry a higher price point at times but no one will take the plunge on a whim. I waited for a 30% off sale and still felt underwhelmed with the value for money perception. Wait for a deeper sale to get your slice of life fix.
Laid Back Camp Virtual Lake Mototsu and Fumoto Campsite
What's here is nice but its way too little content for its price point.
Cute, slice of life anime brought to life just like an anime.
Easy camera controls.
Great voice acting.
Very limited interactivity.
Both games are too similar to distinguish each other apart.
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