Gnomelings: Migration is the VR take on the classic Lemmings puzzle-platformer game from 1991. I remember playing this game even today, just because I enjoyed it so much. Usually, I don't even recall many of the games that I've played, but this one I could easily remember. So Gnomelings: Migration is inspired by this game, but instead of cute gree-haired lemming creatures, you get to guide cute little dwarf characters.
The goal of this game is quite simple, but you'll need to bring up your own strategy to succeed, and this is not simple as it might seem at first glance. You need to guide your Gnomelings to their homeland, which is a different designated location in each level. As you progress, the levels will become more complex and you need to figure out a way to make sure your Gnomelings get to that place safe and sound.
Each level poses different obstacles and dangers that can kill your little buddies. Smart crowd-controlling is the key to success The first level is quite simple, you can see your gnomes moving forward and you have some moveable stone blocks which you can hold and position so they can pass through. I just positioned them in the right place and the Gnomelings went straight through the exit door one by one.
The UI shows you how much gnomes have to pass through the door for you to complete the level, the remaining and the total rescued, including a percentage of the ones that you rescued. I could even grab each one using the controller and move them around, which is one of my favorite gameplay mechanics, being able to just hold them and re-position them on the map. In the second level, I did just that. The Gnomelings just couldn't pass through an obstacle, so I just picked them one by one and positioned them after the obstacle and they went straight to the door.
In other levels, you'll have to think fast and use some objects to your advantage. Your gnomes might fall. It happened to me many times, but I was able to catch a few of them because they don't obey to our gravity and fall quite slow, so with a good reaction time, you'll be able to catch them and prevent some deaths.
The thing is that the Gnomelings don't wait for you to figure out what to do. There is no start button either. The Gnomelings will start moving the moment the level starts and you need to figure out fast your strategy. In higher levels, it might take you a few times to figure out the proper way to guide them.
I really like the level design and the increase in complexity. You start with an introductory level which is very simple and then the game just continues to increase in difficulty. Some of the Gnomelings can be taught how to direct other Gnomelings to different directions so they won't fall out of the map. You can even teach them to fly so you won't need to catch them every time when they need to jump from one platform to the other or turn them into stones to stop projectiles from hitting the other Gnomelings, Those type of gameplay mechanics are really cool and really fun to watch as well. There are dozens of levels to complete, each one poses its own unique challenges.
The graphics are nice and detailed, but I think that this game would have benefited from a different color palette and more detailed 3D objects, but maybe I'm just being too picky here. That being said, it's just my opinion and it definitely doesn't take from the enjoyment of them game.
Gnomelings Migration is a really addictive VR game which I'm sure will appeal to a very wide audience, even for kids. It's available for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive on Steam in early access on June, 2017. I highly recommend checking this game out when it comes out. This is exactly among the type of games that can really benefit from the VR medium and you really can't get this type of gameplay experience any other way, just in VR. We in VR Games For are rewarding Gnomelings: Migration with our IMPRESSIVE Game Award, which means that you definitely have to check this game out.
Image credit: Prismic Studios