So let us melt is a beautiful little story and experience for mobile VR. It takes a comfortable two hours to play and I would recommend it to anyone with a grasp of English and a head large enough to wear a compatible headset comfortably.
At the same time, playing the game strongly underlined for me just how far mobile VR - in the shape of Daydream and Gear VR - has to go, even when compared to just the more specialized VR experiences - in the shape of Playstation VR - available today.
To be clear, this is just as it should be. A dedicated headset connected to stationary hardware better be a significant step up from something you slot a mobile phone into. But now that it has sunk in for me, I am not sure I want to play anything on mobile VR that I can get on a stationary platform.
In essence: it is death by a thousand cuts, and the one advantage of being able to use VR in any location is still more than offset by all the little problems and rough edges. Even getting into experiences can be a tedious exercise as things crash, setup procedures are repeated and buttons accidentaly pressed as I slot the phone into the headset.
Once inside, I feel less immersed and controls are less precise. It dawned on me that both things are connected to the lack of external points to track. The Playstation VR uses the Playstation camera to track the position of the headset and controller, which makes it possible to move your controllers around in the environment, and for you to lean in, turn and so on. With mobile VR of today, I am firmly stuck like a camera on a tripod, and drift in both head tracking and controller position is such a problem that the re-centering button needs to be front and center on the controller. Without it, most experiences would actually be unplayable.
Then, I play for a while and start to feel the heat. Oh yeah, everything is powered by that slab of phone centimetres from my face. It can try to clock down, slowing things down in the process, but it quickly and easily gets uncomfortably hot. The less comfortable headsets start to wear on my forehead. I also can not wear my glasses underneath them, but I am unsure whether the additional … hardware blurring … makes things look better or worse.
In all, the coolest thing about mobile VR right now is that it exists and can be played around with. It is a darn marvel what our phones can do already. But I long for the comfort, immersion and controls of the Playstation VR every single time.
The next mobile VR game for me? Virtual virtual reality!