Crystal Rift, Virtual Reality Puzzle Horror Dungeon

Posted November 13, 2014 by in All

All Demos: ,
Developer: Jon Hibbins and Nick Pittom
Demo Release Date: 01-09-2014
Version: 0.7
Type: Horror
Platform: PC , Mac
HMD: Oculus DK2
Download: Click Here
Control Schemes: Xbox Controller, Keyboard & Mouse

Best Part:

Lots of innovative ideas to keep the experience both physiologically and emotionally comfortable

Worst Part:

Movement can feel a bit constricting
Bottom Line

Lots of innovative ideas to keep the experience both physiologically and emotionally comfortable






Comfort Level


Total Score

3.5/ 5

by Edmund
Full Article

Crystal Rift, by Jon Hibbins and Nick Pittom, is a dungeon crawler inspired by classic first-person rpgs.

From screenshots it appears reminiscent of Dreadhalls. But while it does employ a degree of horror, a number of aesthetic decisions make it much less terrifying to play – allowing for more rational engagement with your environment and a greater focus on puzzles.

Crystal Rift 1One thing that you’ll only really notice when playing the game in the Rift is the sense of scale is exaggerated to the point where things don’t feel real – as if you’re a floating head inside a toy dungeon. While Crystal Rift doesn’t attempt to embody you in the experience, what’s weird is that this doesn’t feel nauseating, nor does it particularly diminishing how absorbing the game is. This perspective shift makes for something that is visually quite enchanting even though there is not much to stare in awe at.

Everything has a good sense of depth and texture, but it also all feels a bit cartoony at the same time. The ghostly apparitions that provide the occasional jump scare are cutesy enough to keep things from spilling over into wholesale horror.  These scares themselves can be modified in the options menu to suit your own particular constitution. The upshot of all of these decisions is that Crystal Rift manages to provoke measured scares without evoking the kind of blood curdling terror that would make you want to stop playing.

Crystal Rift 2One feature of Crystal Rift that I think might split opinion is its gridded movement. The dungeon is constructed of squares or cubes giving you 4 degrees of orthogonal movement between these squares, snapping to the grid as you move. Likewise, reorienting your view is handled by bumper buttons which rotate you 90 degrees in a single motion. This ‘comfort mode’ set of limited movement options, does make for a more methodical experience. It is presumably also designed to minimise nausea, however, showing it to one VR newcomer, they reported finding it quite jarring, and I tend to agree.

Crystal Rift makes a lot of smart design choices that allow it to ramp down the intensity of the experience, making it accessible whilst remaining atmospheric. The demo gives a good taste of the kinds of traversal and reasoning puzzles that the full game might include and hits a good level of challenge. It is never obtuse and key features of the rooms are always clearly readable, making for a steady, satisfying progression that leaves you wanting more. All in all, Crystal Rift is a promising game that seems to have been carefully and lovingly crafted. Definitely a dungeon worth delving.

Download Here



About the Author


Edmund Ward is a philosophy graduate who has focused on aesthetics and cultural critique in the information age. He grew up with 'the dream of the holodeck' and is prone to get very excited by new innovations in natural user-interfaces. Edmund is currently looking for volunteers to look after the glucose drip that will sustain his "fleshform" (as he insists on calling it) when he migrates permanently to VR.

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