Holoverse currently has ten experiences available to patrons, with many more to come. Rather than elongate our main review with detail on each experience, I thought I might create a separate piece for those curious as to what exactly the holographic experiences entail.
The Introduction Room
Things start off simple enough (even Neo spent plenty of time in the construct before they threw him off of a building), but it will still take your breathe away the first time the introduction area comes to life; a small walled garden with a large statue and various plants. You’ll take your first few steps in a truly three dimensional holographic experience, finding your feet (quite literally) as you become accustomed to this new reality.
The Weather Room
The weather room is the same layout as the introduction room above, but now it will cycle through a variety of seasons. Leaves fall, which you will no doubt try to catch, eventually giving way to snow flakes. The detail on each flake is impressive and many of them are far bigger than your average flake. Where the previous room got you accustomed to a holographic world around you, this one will gently encourage you to interact with it as you try to pop bubbles that rise from the ground.
The Wall Room
If you’ve been hesitant to interact with the holographic world up to this point, this room will really encourage you to get involved. A wall will rise out of the floor, only about a foot before the narrator will ask you to move to the other side of the room. You’ll probably do what I did and step over it the first time, it’s natural after all. Not so easy though on the second pass when the wall raises itself to about three feet in height. I considered attempting to vault over it, but ultimately walked through the wall, an all together unusual experience. It doesn’t stop there though, the wall is now raised to a full six feet in height and you’re urged again by the narrator to move through it. I was hesitant at first. Sure I know it’s only made of light, but it really is an odd experience to move through what looks like a solid wall.
At this point the experience moves from passive interaction to a more direct activity. Your hand controller is now outfitted with a holographic mining pick. Using this tool you’re required to break down the cave walls around you. What’s really neat is as you do so there is a garden beyond the wall that is revealed. Being a true three dimensional experience, you can peer through the newly formed openings and see the garden at various angles, it’s not just a static image or a flat texture.
Up until this point the world has kind of just existed without directly acknowledging you. You may have also been hesitant to step too deep into the immersive holographic world. The statue alleviates you of both of those problems. Moving deeper into the holographic chamber, a living statue will embrace you once you step close to it in a truly Ray Harryhausen moment. Having it’s face so close to my own I found a little unnerving, not knowing exactly how it will react, perhaps because in the previously mentioned Harryhausen films the statue usually goes on to kill you.
The gloves come off and say goodbye to the mostly static environments. Animal Safari is full motion with an on rails journey though a savannah environment, replete with lions in the long grass and elephants stampeding. Your biggest holographic jump so far will occur when the elephants decide to charge you. Dodge out of the way or simply allow them to pass through you? Instinct will probably kick in and you’ll find yourself moving.
The Cliff House
I’m personally not a big fan of heights, especially falling from them. I get vertigo just playing Assassin’s Creed and falling into the hay bales. If you are like me you’re going to find The Cliff House a little upsetting for your tummy. If on the other hand you are one of those crazy people who drop great heights in amusement rides then this is your cup of tea. You start at the top of a multi story house built on the side of a cliff and are required to ‘jump down’ holes in the floor. The final leap of faith places you on rickety wooden boards that you just know will break and when they do… well, it’s a long way down.
Feast of Apples
This particular scenario starts off with a bit of a shock. A holographic spear, directly to the chest! Thankfully it’s only made of light and using your trusty hand wand you are able to remove it. Don’t throw it away just yet though, as you will use it to hunt for apples in the surrounding environment. This was really cool and I’d love to see this sort of technology used for ‘Murder/Mystery’ style games. Looking in and under furniture or other objects, moving bushes or trees aside as I look for clues. In this instance though you are hunting apples, stabbing them with your spear and gobbling them down. The experience ends with you climbing inside a large sea shell. This scenario really felt as though it was encouraging me to engage the holographic world more than any of the others and really showcased how you can interact ‘inside’ the holographic world.
Time for a dip in The Pool, without the hassle of getting wet. Our friend the statue returns, this time with an urn filled (magically) with all sorts of aquatic life. Turtles and a variety of fish will swim around you in the holographic water (and yes, you can sit down under the water level). When the stingray was released though I instinctively was a little more cautious, where I had attempted to pet the turtles, I steered well clear of this creature.
Arguably the best experience is saved until last. What begins with you moving across the savannah at break neck speeds, dodging trees and rocks, leaping across chasms, and dashing into the beyond culminates with you falling down a cliff to your assumed death, except you are saved at the last moment by the sprouting of large feathered wings. While I’m not sure if I was supposed to flap my arms, I certainly did anyway. Flight is controlled simply by looking where you want to go. Looking left and right will cause you to bank, looking up to ascend, and looking down will cause you to swoop down at dizzying speeds. While you will no doubt enjoy all the experiences on offer at Holoverse, this is the one you will be telling your friends, family, and workmates about. I could have happily spent the entire time in the holographic room just sampling this experience.
Is there more coming? You bet! The Holoverse team are already well into production for not only more experiences but also full fledged games (I believe riding dragons may have been mentioned) both for single player but also down the road for multiple players as well. Very cool.
Pixel Pop Network hopes to be heading back to visit Holoverse at regular intervals and when we do we’ll update this list.