Reflection is a Chinese VR puzzle game. The puzzle is innovative and unique. Players will challenge a multi-dimensional space created by the mirror, and use mirrors to solve puzzles by manipulating the world in mirror and enter it. Puzzles including Logic, Physics, Space, Time and so on.
Developer: February Scissors
Date Played: June 2023
Number of Players: 1
Time Taken: 3 hours
I first heard about Reflection back when it released on Steam in September 2022. At the time, I was dying to play it. But for some reason (and I’m still not sure why) my VR headset just doesn’t vibe with Steam. So unfortunately I had to wait until June 2023 to finally get my hands on a copy – and it was well worth the wait!
In truth, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from February Scissors’ new game, Reflection. They’re a very small, indie games development company out of China. I’m not overly familiar with Chinese puzzle games – I’ve never played any escape rooms (physical or digital) or even any Chinese tabletop games. I suppose this has a lot to do with the language barrier – but also that China has such a booming puzzle game market there’s almost no need to translate and export. Except this is why Reflection is so cool – it doesn’t use language in any way. Besides the occasional prompt on my VR headset to ‘pick up an item’, I don’t think a single word was uttered by any of the ‘characters’. Sure, there were plenty of landscape items with Chinese letters dotted around in the environment – carved into stone or on lanterns, but none of this needed to be translated. In a similar way, a lot of the communication in this game is done visually – you’re exploring temples, with mountains rising out of the mist around you. Everything felt intuitive – walking around, picking up objects, waving them and moving them around. It’s languageless, and yet I still feel like I understand the story that went into it.
A Reflective Genius
The concept is simple: Reflection is a puzzle game where you use mirrors to manipulate the physical world around you. The game begins fairly straightforward – although I’m embarrassed to admit that I found even the earliest levels in the game tricky enough as they were. Quickly though, as new mechanics are introduced, the game becomes more difficult. At some point I even found myself shifting gravity and dropping objects in a throwback to the video game Portal.
In all there are seven distinction sections of the game, each introducing a new mechanic and adding to the complexity. The first few are about mirrors, the third introduces the ability to change paintings around you, the fourth bends space and the fifth takes that even further by allowing you to flip the whole world upside down, in the sixth you play with the butterfly effect, and finally you can manipulate time. Pretty powerful for little old me, huh.
Is it difficult? Honestly? Yeah! I’m so used to puzzles that conform to the laws of physics that being placed into VR and told I can manipulate everything was hard. But it wasn’t insurmountably hard, and after a little pushing and pulling the edges of reality usually the puzzles slotted into place.
VR: Is it Comfortable?
If it weren’t already clear, Reflection is also a VR game, so rather than clicking a mouse, if you want to manipulate something – such as picking up an object or moving a mirror, you’ll do so in physical space around you. I played on my Oculus Quest 2, but I believe it’s also available on other VR headsets. In terms of controls and motion, I found it quite easy to use and fairly intuitive. When you’re holding a special lantern you can point and click to ‘teleport’ to any location. There’s quite a bit of turning your head around and stretching to look at something, but otherwise quite comfortable. That said, at some point I passed my headset to my partner – there was a really fun bow-and-arrow moment I wanted them to try – and being less familiar with VR, they said they found it gave them a slight bit of motion sickness. With that I’d probably rate it about 2/5 on the “this might make you feel ill” scale, with a VR rollercoaster at 5, and something like The Room (where you’re in a fixed position always) at 1.
With Reflection, you can jump in and out whenever you like. It’s broken up into mini-chapters, and whenever I left and came back it autosaved and took me back to the start of the mini-chapter I was on. So in general, I played this game in very short bursts – just a few levels at a time. On my lunch break, before I started work, whilst I waited for my partner to make us some lunch. For me, this felt like the perfect way to play it – in bitesized, satisfying puzzle pieces.
Reflection VR: The Verdict
I really enjoyed Reflection. We’re currently in this period of time where there aren’t a lot of exciting puzzle games out on the Oculus store (cue some angry people yelling in the background that there are). But all that to say, Reflection launched on Oculus at the perfect time where I was in limbo for a good puzzle VR game. It scratched that itch and gave me a thoroughly enjoyable couple of days of puzzle solving fun.
I’d recommend this game for anyone who wants something a little more gentle, relaxing, and slow-paced.
We weren’t charged for the game but this does not influence our review in any way!