I can understand why certain platforms love exclusives. They offer unique selling points to drive customers, with shiny visuals and gameplay that isn’t offered anywhere else. That can also mean they can become quickly locked away, especially if they’re towards the end of said platform’s life. And that’s pretty much the story of Insomniac Games’ Stormland for Oculus Rift.
There was so much excitement in the air for Stormland in 2019. Better known for PS5 titles Rachet & Clank: Rift Apart and Marvel’s Spider-man: Miles Morales, Insomniac Games had already released VR titles The Unspoken, Feral Rites and Edge of Nowhere. But Stormlands was something different, bigger, bolder and keen to immerse players in its myriad of floating islands.
A Stormland is brewing
Set on an alien sky world, you stepped into the role of an android tasked with maintaining the environment, a robot gardener if you will. But your world and your fellow androids are attacked, forcing you to take up arms and battle the foes across all manner of cloud islands.
Stormland offer gorgeous visuals with the kind of exploration and physical flexibility VR gamers yearned for. You have to remember that in 2019, even though the first consumer VR headsets arrived three years prior, locomotion was still an issue to be tackled and experimented with.
Here you had a game that wasn’t afraid to give you full control. The ability to climb almost any surface, jump from cliffs and glide down and hang from ledges to shoot enemies. You were able to hop from one island to the next, given complete freedom to explore ruins, strongholds, and caves nestled in the cloudscape. Furthermore, it was all procedural, so each week everything would change to offer new landscapes and challenges to keep you coming back.
And because you had an android body you were upgradeable. Finding new tech to bolt on and experiment with. VR loves a good manual reloading gun, right? Not in Stormland, just throw the gun away and grab another of an enemy, keeping the action going without the faff.
Sure, it wasn’t without its issues. There were times when it could feel recycled because the environments weren’t that varied. And sometimes the enemy AI wasn’t the best.
Even so, there was a lot to love about it. However, now it’s hidden away in the Rift section of the Meta Quest Store. Much like Defense Grid 2: Enhanced VR Edition, Quest 2 owners will need a PC to access the game which is still full price! So it’s not inaccessible, just not readily accessible.
If there was ever a long, long, shot it would come from Sony’s acquisition of Insomniac Games in 2020. Stormland on PSVR 2 would be cool. Highly unlikely, but cool nonetheless.