[PS VR] The Bellows Review
The Bellows is a VR Horror experience designed to play like an interactive movie. Is it a fully immersive experience or another run of the mill shock? Read our The Bellows review to find out!
You find yourself in the shoes of a man alone in his home. The storm has been raging for what feels like an eternity, sleep refusing to fully take hold. As your windows clatter open yet again, you feel something isn’t quite right. The lights no longer move as they should, the world around you starts to feel threatening… and an unsettling feeling starts to take hold.
As someone who loves all things horror, I was pleased to find this experience landing on my PlayStation Pro and PS VR combo. Initially, I thought: “It can’t be as good as Resident Evil,” but the way you feel after playing The Bellows is about on par. It’s best played fully immersed with headphones or earbuds to give you the full 3D sound experience.
You start in a room, not dissimilar to the dark, dank environments from Resident Evil. However, the difference is the movement mechanics, for which you can choose to use either the Dualshock 4 or to play with motion controllers.
I chose the motion controls and, to my surprise, after going through the tutorial, found that they worked seamlessly. There is no “teleporting” in this one. You just point and press the big button on your Move controller to go where you want, and slightly move it to the side to move sideways, or point behind you to go backwards. You can also quarter turn the camera angle by using the Triangle and Square buttons. I liked this method of control since it felt very intuitive, and hopefully more games take it as an example for a better PS VR user experience.
There are two parts to the experience: “The Manor” and “The Hospital.” Both parts of this immersive interactive movie will play with your senses and send your mind racing, which is certainly a good thing for a PlayStation VR release.
The interactive experience flows through dark corridors and even darker rooms, with only a trusty candle-lit lamp to light your way. You can only see a couple of feet ahead of you, which adds to the psychological side of things. And when moving in the shadows, you will see things move around you. There are also items you need to interact with to move the story forward.
There isn’t a lot in the way of puzzles to make you think about anything apart from what the hell is going to come out of the dark next, but this does not detract from the experience. I am a bit loathed to say much more about the approximately 30-minute experience (I don’t want to add spoilers!), but there are moments when I was genuinely scared – at one point I closed my eyes as something came at me.
Graphically it’s quite polished, and it’s on par with a lot of highly acclaimed PS VR games. It is certainly well worth a visit to delve into your own psychological fears, as it has something for everyone- mutant experiments, evil doctors and patients that really wish they were not there!
I couldn’t find many negatives for this experience apart from when at one point my dismembered hand could not pick up my trusty candle-lit lamp, but I managed to do it after a few tries. I loved the control mechanics and the environment, and how the sounds bring a wealth of immersion sadly lacking from other experiences.
All in all, this is a great interactive experience from Castle Step Games, and I look forward to seeing what they will produce next.
This The Bellows review is based on a PS VR copy provided by Castle Step Games.