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Spectacular Tentacular is Physics-Based VR Fun

Tentacular takes full advantage of PSVR2 tech. This game puts players in control of a massive monster for a fun, funny, physics-based puzzler.



Tentacular PSVR2 PlayStation 5

Tentacular PSVR2 Review

Developer: Firepunchd Games | Publisher: Devolver Digital | Genre: Physics Puzzler
Platforms: Windows, PlayStation 5 |  Reviewed on: PSVR2

The power fantasy that comes inherent to playing video games takes many forms. Handling weapons or tools with skill and confidence is undeniably pleasurable. But there’s also a cottage industry of games where slowly overcoming incompetence is the point. Firepunchd GamesTentacular is one such title. Players control a kaiju-sized tentacle monster, tasked with helping a small island town’s residents with various projects. Fun, funny, and full of heart, Tentacular is a PSVR2 launch title that should not be missed.

Tentacular PSVR2 PlayStation 5
Image: Devolver Digital

Tentacular follows in the tradition of presenting a gentle giant, who must then do their best to convince the wider world of their merits. While this may sound like a dour setup, the scenarios in Tentacular are more slapstick than serious. After hitting a milestone birthday, the player character’s sister lets the protagonist in on a secret, and hopes they won’t be mad: they are, in fact, adopted. Given that the player towers over their sister and has 50-foot-long tentacles covered in suckers, this should come as no surprise. From the start, Tentacular sets its comedic tone perfectly.

So what does one do when they find out from their human sister that life may look a little bit differently now? Naturally, they apply for a job. The town of La Kalma is in constant need of maintenance, and the mayor could use someone of the player’s size and strength. Rather than roam the seas in search of destruction or simulate a Godzilla attack, Tentacular instead presents players with a series of physics-based challenges where being giant-sized and having super-strength is a positive asset. It is easy to imagine a version of this game solely focused on destruction. Instead, Tentacular manages to tap into the innate satisfaction that comes from stacking blocks or building a fort with sticks and branches.

Tentacular PSVR2 PlayStation 5
Image: Devolver Digital

Art direction helps sell the wholesome fantasy of Tentacular. Rather than opt for something highly immersive and realistic, La Kalma and its residents are rendered to look like toys. Parts of the game look and feel like a train set, with all the tactile satisfaction that entails. The player can reach down and pick up a car or bus or even a townsperson, and fling them into the sky with little effort. But rather than feel violent, these actions feel fun. NPCs don’t drown; instead, they’ll appear in an inflatable raft, none the worse for having been dropped into the ocean by a massive tentacle.

Gameplay is divided into different challenges, with new wrinkles being folded in every so often. Early stages are as simple as using tentacles to clear out trash from a bay by moving it elsewhere; eventually, the player will find themselves using a fabricator to create materials to build skyscraper-sized slingshots, or building rockets to launch into the stratosphere. It is to the developer’s credit that almost everything in the game is done with tentacles in mind; sure, the player could advance dialogue by pressing a button, but isn’t it more fun to reach over and gently tap an NPC on the head to continue a conversation? Why pause the game to reset a challenge when you can grip a gigantic level and wrench it down to achieve the same effect? Tentacular is full of imaginative ways to interact with its world that all make great use of its virtual reality setup.

Tentacular is available on multiple VR platforms, but the game makes exceptional use of the PSVR2 Sense controllers. Haptic feedback is in full effect. Certain parts of the player’s tentacles are more effective for different tasks, and discovering that shipping containers are more easily lifted using both arms is a joy. Trying (and failing) to perform delicate tasks like decorating a supersized Christmas tree with stick-on magnets of various shapes and sizes is fun, if a little finicky; there are some objectives that can be frustrating to complete, which can feel at odds with the generally loose structure of the rest of the game.

Tentacular PSVR2 PlayStation 5
Image: Devolver Digital

Tentacular has multiple play modes, including a free play area that becomes more involved the more items and tools the player has unlocked. This zone is a true toybox, where players can create to their heart’s content and save what they’ve built for later. Creating playscapes is extremely immersive, though it is entirely possible to feel a little motion sick with all the grabbing, yanking, and button-pressing that comes with it. Nobody said seeing the world from the perspective of a giant beast is easy.

The joyful, toylike vibe of Tentacular is a great counterpart to other virtual reality games, and a fantastic way to show off the tech. Players can lift the tops of buildings as though they are dollhouses to see what’s inside, and the story has some surprisingly touching moments revolving around identity and what to do with natural talents and gifts. There is a lot of depth the actual physics of the game, and learning to manipulate them in favor of creation or destruction is very satisfying. As a VR experience, Tentacular provides both humor and substance.

Cameron Daxon is a video game evangelist and enthusiastic reader. He lives in Los Angeles, California and once nearly collided with Shigeru Miyamoto during E3. His favorite game is Bloodborne, but only when he’s not revisiting Super Mario World. He’s also in the writer’s room for YouTube personality The Completionist and other places on the internet.

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