Few risks were taken to elevate familiar roguelike concepts resulting in runs that quickly blend together without any distinguished mechanics
The Foglands is an atmospheric roguelike adventure where you’ll discover new paths and uncover old secrets. The game's spooky underground setting draws you in from the start. Playing as a scavenger known as a Runner, you'll venture out from the last remnants of civilization to explore murky cave systems and retrieve resources. In a roguelike fashion, the story about what happened to this world begins to unveil with each subsequent run.
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Early runs see you learning enemies' attacks and using scrounged supplies to gradually upgrade your stats back at home base. Scavenged scrap can be used to upgrade your health and melee attributes and also upgrade the weapons damage and ammunition. That sounds cool and all, but the game is not really that challenging in the first place. A successful run should take you a little more than one hour and if you are comfortable with VR games in general meaning that you can run and jump around without getting motion sickness. Just be careful to not fall from up high cause there's a lot of fall damage. Of course, that doesn't mean that you have truly finished full game or even seen what's truly in store for you since it takes you around 18 hours or so to squeeze out everything that The Foglands has to offer.
Navigation in the dark, twisty passageways might get confusing in the first couple of runs. But after you experience these levels a couple of times, you will quickly make a b-line for the boss of each zone. Of course, if you explore around a bit, you will find more resources, scrap and cards that grant special bonuses for that run which in turn will make your life a tad easier the deeper you go. Again, the game is not that challenging in the first place so even if you miss some things, you'll be just fine.
Melee combat doesn't really work as the hit detection is very janky. Throwing stuff like tomahawks and knives does work, but why do that when you can just shoot at the enemies? Shooting is passable, it does the job of killing enemies but it feels weightless, there's practically no recoil and the hit boxes of the enemies are favourable enough. The enemies are kinda dumb and pose no challenge at all. The same goes for the bosses, if you just run around the arena and shoot at them you can kill them off without even taking any hit.
As for the presentation on the Quest 3, while the artstyle itself is interesting, graphically it doesn't look that good. Textures are kinda muddy, the geometry of the levels is not aligned as you can see gaps above the doors and the draw distance in some areas leaves a lot to be desired. The same goes for the enemy models and their animations, there's a lot of jank. These graphical rough edges are kinda understandable for an indie game like The Foglands runnning on the Quest 3. However, what annoyed me the most is that for every room you visit, there's a 4-5 seconds loading screen before you enter. This totally breaks any immersion and ruins the pace of the game.
The Foglands checks boxes as a functional roguelike and its lonely post-apocalyptic world somewhat intrigues. But few risks were taken to elevate these familiar concepts resulting in runs that quickly blend together without any distinguished mechanics. If the game goes on sale on Meta Quest Store, maybe consider picking it up. Otherwise there are better VR roguelikes out there. Thanks for reading!
The game was reviewed on a Quest 3 using a review copy provided by the developer.The Foglands is available now on Meta Quest, PSVR2 and PCVR.