Created by: Owlchemy Labs
Release Date: 4/9/2019
Available on Steam
Platform: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Windows Mixed Reality
Vacation Simulator is a game made by Owlchemy Labs, the people who made Job Simulator back in 2016. Much like how Job Simulator was about the user being thrown into various jobs in a robot dominated world in 2050, Vacation Simulator is about the user being thrown into a vacation resort populated by robots who are trying to resurrect the human custom of vacation.
Vacation Simulator inherits many elements from Owlchemy’s previous works and tries to improve on them by including additional components. The interaction system is similar to Job Simulator’s, and the user can interact with almost all objects in an interesting way. Can I grab the bottle of shampoo and drink it if I please? Yes, I can. Can I throw this snowball at random NPC bots and get a reaction out of them? Also yes. There are numerous similar interactions that the user can take hours exploring. One noticeable improvement to the interaction system from the previous works is that the system allows users to grab the objects on the ground without bending down by hovering the objects off the ground if the user tries to reach out for them. The experience also utilizes the type of satirical narrative employed in Job Simulator, mildly poking fun at how humans used to and robots do vacation, as well as gamers are obsessed with achievements and discovering everything that is available.
In addition to building upon what worked in Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator also adds several elements that were not present in its predecessor. One major aspect is the avatar system, where the game gives you numerous options on how to customize your avatar. However, I personally did not care much for the system, since the only times that I was able to see myself was through the mirror in the bathroom or via shadows on the ground. This system seemed to be more pertinent for users that enjoy taking selfies through the camera system implemented in the game, or the youtubers and streamers that have an audience who can actually look at the avatars.
Owlchemy Labs also made Vacation Simulator into more of a game compared to its predecessors. Instead of single stations that users were stuck to in Job Simulator, Vacation Simulator introduced numerous different stations in each location that had a fleshed-out mini-game associated with it, along with a scoring system measuring how far the users progressed. While the game does not push the users to take part or care about the scores and achievements, it did result in dispersing of objects across different stations, which made it more difficult to let different objects interact with each other.
Overall, I feel that Vacation Simulator is a very well-made VR experience that I could see myself sinking a good amount of time into. Although none of the interactions are too complicated, there were a wide variety, and there was a couple of interactions that I found myself sinking good five to ten minutes into, like throwing snowballs at random objects. Although Job Simulator is also a great VR experience, Vacation Simulator seems to be an overall improvement, and I see Vacation Simulator appealing to a wider audience compared to its predecessor.