PS VR2 has had a great number of games hit the platform since its launch in February. Some have been more memorable than others with hi-fidelity graphics and fantastic use of PS VR2’s tech. BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space is one of those cool little VR games that has been a memorable and enjoyable experience.
An Autism-friendly VR game that is fun for everyone
BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space has been developed by Glasgow-based Changingday. A developer that has put accessibility at the heart of its game. BLINNK was made to be an Autism-friendly and accessible experience and although I can’t experience it from the perspective of a person with Autism I can say that it is a very fun, relaxed and enjoyable game to play. And that is what all games should be, fun and enjoyable.
Being a game built around accessibility and inclusivity BLINNK has several accessibility options that can be adjusted to suit your individual needs. The usual options for playstyle and movement are present but BLINNK also has other nice accessibility features that can be adjusted to suit. I particularly liked the fact that you could change subtitle text size, as a low-sight gamer I think more VR games should include this option.
When you first start the game you will find yourself in The Fold. The Fold is a tranquil, peaceful place filled with relaxing pink hues, it here you will be introduced to the game’s accessibility menu as well as some basic mechanics. The voice that greets you at The Fold and walks you through some game set-up steps is calming and reassuring. From listening to this calming voice I knew that BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space was going to be a very friendly and relaxed game.
The Fold is your relaxing, stress-free pause menu
There is actually no pause menu in BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space, instead, you can return to The Fold at any time just by pressing the button on your smartwatch. The Fold is a great feature that I have never seen in a VR game before. If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed or just want to take a break, you can just tap your smartwatch and return to the peaceful and tranquil surroundings of The Fold.
There’s no need to take your headset off either, just relax in the calm surroundings until you are ready to go back to the game. During my playtime, I found myself returning to The Fold several times, just to take a breather. Even though I was playing the game standing, I found myself slumping onto the couch behind me just to relax even more until I was ready to get back to the task at hand.
Simple, Fun Gameplay
When you get into the game proper you are introduced to BLINNK, a lovable floating robot who works for Norp Corp. BLINNK is your companion throughout the game and will give you hints along the way. BLINNK is an inventor and has been tasked by Mr Norp, the boss of Norp Corp to make the ultimate sandwich. Things go a bit wrong however when BLINNK accidentally releases a bunch of Groobs. The Groobs are little creatures who end up escaping to every corner of Norpopolis. It is your job to help BLINNK capture all the Groobs so you can make the sandwich for Mr Norp.
To help you capture the Groobs BLINNK has invented the Vacummizer 5000 a handy tool that lets you hoover up the Groobs. The gameplay is pretty much straightforward and revolves around you having to complete tasks in a few different locations of Norpopolis.
Like Job Simulator but with zero stress
If I were to compare the gameplay to another game I think it would have to be Job Simulator. Except there is much less stress and you can’t fail at a task thanks to the game’s accessible no-fail state feature. The main gameplay has you acting as BLINNK’s assistant and undertaking different tasks in four different locations: the Spaceport, Robo Workshop, a Dentist’s surgery and an Atrium.
If you have played Job Simulator or similar VR games then you will be quite familiar with the gameplay of BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space. Each location has you completing different jobs and there is enough variety in the jobs and areas to keep you entertained through to the end of the game.
In the Spaceport you have to work as a luggage inspector, inspecting suitcases for contraband while keeping an eye out for the pesky Groobs who seem to get absolutely everywhere. The Robo Workshop has you repairing robots by taking parts out of the spare parts bin after you have inspected them to find out what needs replacing. The atrium level tasks you with picking orders for restaurants. I found this level to be quite interesting as it essentially has two different types of tasks, one where you need to grow the vegetables and one where you need to catch fish using a fishing rod. You’ll also end up catching a few Groobs as well.
My true calling was as a Dental Hygienist
My favourite level however was the Dentist’s surgery. This has you using three different tools to perform different Dental procedures, from Blasting away plaque and polishing teeth with a powerwasher (there was something very satisfying about blasting plaque with a powerwasher) to using a gun that shoots replacement teeth into gums. Before you do that though you have to use the miniturizer which shrinks you down so you can actually be in the patient’s mouth. When you are in the patient’s mouth you will have to complete the procedure using the Dentist’s tools but you will have to remember to look out for Groobs that have managed to get into the patient’s mouth. Switching between the Dental tool and the Vacuumiser 5000 is very easy with a single button press which helps with keeping the game as relaxed and stress-free as it can be.
Simple, satisfying gameplay
If I was to sum up BLINNk’s gameplay in three words it would be “simple, fun, satisfying.” The gameplay mechanics offer enough variety to keep each level interesting and engaging whilst keeping it simple so as to not divert away from the game’s main goal. To be accessible and Autism-friendly.
BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space is a short game, it could probably be completed in a few hours, but I won’t hold that against it as most VR games are pretty short. Although it may be short it does offer up replay value. Although you can complete the game without catching every single Groob, you can go back and replay the levels to try and catch the ones you may have missed previously. There are trophies for 100% completion and various things which will have trophy hunters going back to unlock any remaining trophies.
Graphically, BLINNK is a very easy-on-the-eyes game. The graphics are nice and colourful and each level looks great. I would also like to point out the voice acting. I thought the voice acting was superb and the voice-over artists really made the characters stand out. For what I presume was a fairly low-budget game, the voice actors did an outstanding job in making the game humorous and light-hearted.
There’s not much I can really fault with BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space, apart from a couple of minor things like the slightly wonky fishing rod in the Atrium level and a bug (which the developer did fix prior to launch) my time with BLINNK was a very positive experience. I think the developers have nailed what they set out to accomplish, create a simple, fun, relaxed game that is accessible and inclusive to all.
I just hope we get to see more of BLINNK in future games.
BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space is out now on PlayStation VR2.
Review code kindly provided by the developer.
BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space - The PSF Verdict
BLINNK and the Vacuum of Space is fantastic first game from Glasgow-based developer Changingday. It is fun, friendly and relaxed with simple yet interesting gameplay mechanics and a host of fantastic characters to keep you entertained. My time with BLINNK was very positive and I hope to see more from this litle robot and from Changingday.