Mea Culpa, Virtual Reality Maze / Puzzle

Posted June 12, 2014 by in All

All Demos: ,
 
 
 
 
Developer: MannyLectro
 
Demo Release Date: 06-06-2014
 
Version: 1.0
 
Type: Maze / Puzzle
 
Platform: PC
 
HMD: Oculus Rift
 
Download: Click here
 
Control Schemes: Keyboard & Mouse , Xbox Controller
 

Best Part:

Enchanting environment and effective sound design.
 

Worst Part:

Doesn’t make a compelling use of the central mechanic.
 
Bottom Line

Mea Culpa as a lovely experience for VR newcomers and veterans alike. To have been created (essentially) in 48 hours is a great achievement.

Rating

Graphics
 
 
 
 
 


Sound
 
 
 
 
 


Controls
 
 
 
 
 


Gameplay
 
 
 
 
 


Comfort Level
 
 
 
 
 


Immersion
 
 
 
 
 


Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

4/ 5

by Edmund
Full Article

Mea Culpa is an exploration-puzzle experience made using Unreal and created in 48 hours for the Global Game Jam in January this year.

Released last week, it ran the risk of being overlooked in all the pre-E3 hype or over-shadowed by Senza Peso, with which it bears a visual resemblance. Luckily, thanks to Drash’s Demo roundup I gave it a try and I’m glad I did – Mea Culpa is an all-round well made, beautiful zen exploration game.

The environment is immediately intriguing yet non-threatening. You are inside some sort of ruins, located within an enormous dome-like cave. There are large holes in the ceiling, showering mesmerising beams of light down onto the ancient architecture. Luminescent plants further cement this place as being otherworldly.

In the opening few moments, though far enough in for you to have acclimatised to your surroundings, you step into a room and witness a statue fall to the ground and shatter. At this point Mea Culpa introduces the ability to shift between a light-world and a dark-world – one with a broken statue and one with it still intact. Other than the transition of the soundtrack from calming synth to ominous synth, the contrast between these two worlds is subtle and neither holds any real danger. There are a few simple world-switching fetch and traversal puzzles to overcome but nothing that will stump you.

This core-mechanic, along with the title, suggests that the theme of Mea Culpa is consequences – but it the game refuses to be pinned down too precisely. It never presents you with a clear understanding of the causal connection between the damaged statue and the differences between the two realities. A lack of cognizable context from your environment or verbal communication gives it a dreamlike quality.

The simplicity of the world-switching puzzles supports this dreamlike feel – the gamic components of the experience are there to structure your exploration, not to challenge you. Mea Culpa is not to be struggled with, it is to be meditatively sleep-walked through.

Even taken at the leisurely pace that it engenders, Mea Culpa is quite a short demo. There may not be any danger or real challenge but the gorgeous and fantastical environment is enough to carry the experience. Although it may leave you wanting more in both length and complexity, the mild resistance created by the simple puzzles do at least mean that by the time the credits roll you’ll feel a greater sense of satisfaction than you might from basic exploration demos. Don’t expect full closure either though; there is something haunting about the experience that will stick with you, in much the same vein as Senza Peso. The fact that it was created in just 48 hours is very impressive, but as even without that caveat, Mea Culpa stands on its own as a really enjoyable experience that should not be overlooked.

Game Development Team

Julien Cucco (Developer), Benjamin Baldassini (Audio Designer), Jonas Bru (Developer), Jonas Herrero (Cg Artist), Johan Nagy (Game Designer), Emmanuel Body-Hinrichsen (Developer), Thomas Delobre (Cg Artist), William Burke (Game Designer/Cg Artist), Pierre-Gabriel Chouzy (Cg Artist), Fanny Renard (Cg Artist).
And not in the picture but still member of the team : Bertrand De Galbert

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About the Author

Edmund

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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