VR headsets do a great job of immersing ourselves in fantastic virtual worlds, but they also effectively isolate us from our surroundings. Which is absolutely fine when you want to escape from real life for a bit, but less so when you’re cutting yourself off from family and friends that can’t share that virtual space with you. VR enthusiasts are still a relatively niche group, and it’s a tall ask to get people to hang out just to take turns playing a game no one else can see.
So if you want to hook your friends on VR, or just want an excuse to show off your fancy VR headset at a party, you need games that everyone can see and participate in before they ever try on a headset. And Takelings House Party, a new local multiplayer VR game due out in Early Access on 7/25, fits the bill perfectly.
Takelings takes the premise of beloved children’s novel The Borrowers and turns it into cartoonishly violent entertainment for up to nine players, but with only one VR headset required.
One player wears their Steam VR, Viveport or Oculus headset and plays as frustrated homeowner Hal, who must track down and exterminate the freeloading pests terrorizing his home. Everyone else controls a Takeling, and they must work together to outsmart and outlast the murderous behemoth that hoards supplies they desperately need. These folks can use any Xbox One or PS4 controllers you have on hand, or even download the beta apps for iOS or Android and use their smartphones as controllers instead.
The gameplay mechanics are simple and intuitive, which makes it easy for VR newbies or kids to dive straight into the action. The Takelings hide under or behind household objects, and Hal/ the VR player must seek them. If Hal finds one and tries to grab it, the Takeling / couch player must dodge his attacks or try to break free. If they can’t, Hal will eliminate them using appliances like the toaster, waffle iron or garbage disposal. The Takelings have a limited number of lives each and can’t kill Hal, but they can unplug appliances or blind him with giant bubblegum balloons to stall until time runs out.
Asymmetrical party games have taken off in recent years, from Bowser mode in Super Mario Party, to playing as a horror movie monster in Dead by Daylight or Friday the XIII. Gamers enjoy the power trip of being OP compared to their opponents, but they also enjoy banding together with friends to take down an unfairly powerful opponent. Takelings House Party happily continues that trend and lets you be both monster and underdog.
Each round only lasts a couple minutes each, but Takelings House Party seems destined to have tons of replay value. After each player takes a turn crushing some tiny Takelings, you can then switch to one of the other game modes, which take place in different parts of the house. At launch the game will have three maps and three minigames available for players, with at least two more planned as post-launch updates.
In the mode above, for example, Hal hammers open his basement wall to find Takelings scurrying around inside. Like Battleship, you need to hope you hammer the right section of the wall to catch and destroy your prey in time.
LA-based indie developer Dimnhouse created Takelings House Party, its first-ever game release, with just three team members: a developer, an artist, and a product manager. Despite its small team, Dimnhouse has successfully created a working VR experience that has already gathered praise from gamers and streamers for its hilariously chaotic gameplay, including famous esports team Cloud9.
When the game goes on Early Access on July 25th, you’ll have access to one of the most promising-looking VR games coming out this year, with the promise that more map updates will be on their way soon.