About The Game
VEV: Viva Ex Vivo™ is a unique, pick-up and play exploration game with puzzle and survival elements. Players take control of a 'Virtual Eukaryote Visualizer,' a single-celled artificial life-form which allows them to explore four distinct microscopic environments: freshwater, soil, blood, and cerebrospinal fluid. Players are tasked with managing their VEV's energy consumption as they traverse each sample in search of organic particles to collect and consume, ultimately achieving the highest possible energy count within their VEV's functional life span. Players must navigate each microscopic realm mindful of the unique menagerie of competing and sometimes hostile microorganisms that populate each micro-ecosystem and, in turn, may threaten their VEV's existence.
Trophies are supported, and are awarded for hitting research milestones and unlocking additional 'simulation' environments, which feature surreal twists that will offer entirely new challenges.
I’ve played a lot of survival games in my time.
Often by the very nature of the genre they offer a harder challenge than some other games after all if you simply breezed through there wouldn’t be much need for survival in the first place.
Vev has genuinely been one of the hardest ever survival experiences even when things are going well (which didn’t happen as often as I might have liked) you are only ever a couple of mistakes away from having your survival taken away.
That for me personally is a good thing and even a fun thing.
Yes I might have had some annoyances and uttered a few words at times of failure that might have indicated things weren’t fun and most certainly not good but there are only 2 ways our going to fail in your quest for this game.
One you run into some nasty little creatures looking to do you harm and sap away all your energy or number two you run out of energy before you find any more.
Like it or not either of those outcomes really is your own fault.
And why is your fault?
Every level has unique areas where more energy can be collected its hardly the games fault if you aren’t skilled enough to work out where these areas are and how best to navigate towards them.
Likewise the levels enemies largely stay in their own little areas while of course there will be energy nearby it’s still hardly the games fault if you don’t have the skills to get to it unharmed.
You'll start with 4 playable levels in addition to the practice / calibration zone
You’ll start the game with 4 levels unlocked Fresh Water, Soil, Blood & Cerebrospinal Fluid (that’s fluid around the spine and brain to most of us) 3 more levels can be unlocked.
The main aim of the game is simply to guide your little Virtual Eukaryote Visualizer (Let’s just stick with VEV) around each of the samples for 30 minutes without running out of energy.
You’ll always start with an energy score of 100 and it will begin depleting from the second you start the game.
You have the option of moving at normal speed which is fairly pedestrian or speed up / slow down.
The faster you travel the more energy you’ll burn off but the slower you go the more chance you’ve got of being caught by the various level inhabitants who are happily swimming around just waiting for an opportunity to either remove some of your energy particles or worse still latch on and drag you to a near halt as the rest of them jump on board and finish you off.
All the energy you collect will be attached to your VEV until you hit the X button to absorb it all.
As might be an obvious point the more energy you collect prior to absorbing it the more you’ll fill up.
When you begin collecting large amounts of energy (see the blood level in the video at the end of the review for an example) you’ll begin linking energy some of them will change colour as you go and if you keep on collecting right up until you are about to run out of current energy you’ll get a significant boost to your energy supplies when you do consume all your collected particles.
Try to stay clear of anything and everything that makes its way towards you.
While each level plays with the exact same concept (survive 30 minutes) each offers its own distinct look, challenge and difficulty.
My personal favourite is the soil the bright blue VEV looks great against the back drop of black and the creatures and inhabitants lurking ready to end your exploration early are quality vibrant and distinctive.
Overall how much enjoyment you’ll get out of a game like this will depend how much you’re interested in exploration and survival.
The concept is interesting and the challenge is tough but fair however I can see a number of players losing interest half way through a level.
Once you’ve survived a level for 15 minutes you will have seen a reasonable amount of the levels areas and you’ll still have another 15 minutes to do more of the same.
Those that enjoy the survival challenge and those motivated enough to go for all the games trophies will find a multi hour exploration awaiting them.
Local high scores are saved for each level so there is some replay value to be had though it would have no doubt been increased further had an online leader board been included to compare your survival skills against those of other players.
Finally a point that might perhaps sway some potential buyers tempted but not quite sold on the game.
VEV is currently been lined up to be released on Playstation Virtual Reality within the launch window of its release later this year.
Owners of the game at that time will be able to also get the VR version of the game for free.
While I’m not exactly overly excited for VR for a number of reasons this will be one of the first VR games we’ll be reviewing here on Legacy and I’m certainly interested in how to two experiences will compare.
The soil level is my particular favourite.
Each level offers its own distinct look.
Plenty of areas to explore in large open locations.
Challenging survival exploration.
Free PS VR upgrade on its release.
Surviving for a full 30 minutes is a satisfying experience.
ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
No online leader boards to compare performance
Some players are certain to find playing the same level for 30 minutes repetitive.
There are some creatures that will put a rather abrupt end to your exploration!
I’ve played a few peaceful exploration games over the last few years and I must admit I was expecting more of the same with this.
After my first start attempt at a level (blood) I was at the game over screen in less than 5 minutes.
There is plenty of exploration to do, a couple of hidden organisms to find (in fresh water and soil) and plenty of fights for survival to be had.
By its very nature it’s not a game you can pick up and play for 10 minutes (unless you have no interest in beating the level) you can’t save the mission half way through and return to it at a later time.
But if you’re up for a challenge (and beating every level here will be a challenge) there is enough content to keep you going quite a while with the added bonus of VR to come for those that are interested in such things.
We'll never be posting any game endings during these previews and we'll try to keep as many spoilers as possible out of sight.
But obviously your watching a video of a game you probably don't own and there might be things here you don't want to see viewing is always your own choice.
A review copy of the game was provided by Truant Pixel and reviewed in accordance with the review policy.