VR is brilliant for a few different things, and yet there are two game types that really stand out as being considerably more effective in VR: those that scare the living shit out of you (I’m looking at you, Resident Evil 7) and those that let you kick back, relax and take things slowly while the surroundings wash over you like a soothing bath of pixels. Fujii most certainly isn’t a scary game, and so for this review to make the tiniest bit of sense you’ve probably worked out it’s in the latter category. And what a lovely, calm ride it is.
Moving from level to level, the main objective is to collect glowing orbs that allow you move on to new areas, or open locked doors to give you access to a new place. As you press on and collect them, areas previously plunged into darkness suddenly light up, revealing your new surroundings and a whole new section of the level to explore. There are elements of the brilliant Flower in here, and while Flower was all about adding colour to the world, providing light to the darkness isn’t a million miles off and has the same level of satisfaction when the area is flooded with the shiny stuff.
But let’s focus on that exploring for a moment. There’s very little in terms of a tutorial or guide in Fujii, but there’s really no need for one. Once I realised I could suck up water using my virtual Go-Go-Gadget arms and use that to water my freshly planted seeds (more on that later) there wasn’t really anything else to know. Instead I just tried stuff out, seeing what would happen if I poked a plant, or tried to tug a flower out of the ground, or squirted water at a weird hopping creature. What was great about this journey of discovery is just how much reacts to you. It might not be a massive over the top crazy effect, but things stretching to your pull, or things falling off plants, or creatures bouncing away from you. It starts to trick you into thinking you might actually be in this cute, colourful place, such is the draw of games like this on VR.
But these seeds I mentioned earlier can be collected, with a range of different plants to find. You take these back to your small home area where a range of plant pots and other sewing areas can be used to grow your seeds into plants of various shapes and sizes. Essentially a mini garden for you to fuss over, this lets you arrange your findings in whatever way you choose and produce your own little corner of plant-based paradise. It’s possible to spend ages here, probably longer than the rest of the game itself, and is a really nice diversion from the main game.
I think what I really loved the most about Fujii though is how the visuals and audio worked so well together to provide a calm, relaxed environment that you could lose yourself in for an hour or so. There’s no jump scares, no time-based tasks that have you panicking to complete things in next to no time, just a series of chances to try things out, collect a few light orbs and enjoy your surroundings. It’s a short game for sure, but it’s also a fairly low cost one as well, and for those times when you’ve had a rough day and want to just relax without things flying at you, or making you feel stressed, this could be a great game for you to try out. Is it a game you’ll return to when you’ve sorted everything out? Maybe not, it depends how much you fall in love with your garden, but while you’re in your headset Fujii certainly has a little spark that you don’t find in many games.
Reviewed on PSVR