The Invisible Hours (PlayStation VR review)

The Invisible Hours

VR games have been evolving quite rapidly in the short time span that they’ve been released. I’ve already encountered and reviewed several genres with the VR as well. Currently, I’m digging the first-person shooter genre since it’s pretty damned immersive in its own aspect. You feel like you’re part of the world because you’re touching things with your hands. That said, developer Tequila Works created a different style of genre for the VR community: Immersion in a murder mystery.

The Invisible Hours taps into a different gameplay style and actually puts you in the middle of a drama. At first, it sounds like you’re just going to watch a movie, but this is a little different in a sense. The Invisible Hours has you playing as a virtual detective while the story plays out in front of you. It’s similar to L.A. Noir, but you don’t really affect the course of the storyline or the characters. You’re basically a ghost in the background.

The Game

You are on a remote island where Nikolai Tesla has invited several guests to join him. They were all invited to this island for a reason, however, each of the reasons is different yet aligned. As the storyline progresses, the characters all each interact with each other and have their own agendas. All of this is intertwined with the murder of Tesla that just recently took place the moment the story begins. You don’t know who the murderer is, but each of the characters is a suspect. No one is innocent since all of the characters backgrounds are somehow connected with the victim.

As a virtual ghost, you’re able to move around Tesla’s island and mansion. You are able to rewind, fast-forward, or stop the story to your liking. Doing so is what increases the replayability of this game because you can stop the story, move to a different location in the mansion or island, then focus on a different character. Not all the characters will be visible during dialogue amongst other characters, so you will have to stop and rewind a lot. This is how you find out more about each character. Sometimes the characters will say something incriminating, but it turns out it’s just them expressing annoyance or anger at a situation.

You’re also able to grab items and look at them in the three-dimensional space you’re provided. Again, it’s like L.A. Noir where you rotate the objects to see if there’s anything interesting about them or if they somehow narrow the connection between character relations or narrow their connection to the crime. I especially liked this since I spent quite some time walking around the island and the house grabbing objects and studying them closely. I felt like Columbo or Sherlock Holmes in a way.

A Tangled Web

The evidence that you collect with Tesla’s diaries along with the different actions that each of the characters takes in the game, all form into one gigantic web of deceit. Not everyone is who they say they are. If you wanted to, you could just watch one character throughout the chapters of the story, but you will never see the complete picture if you give yourself tunnel vision. There are a lot of layers to each of the character’s backstories and there are eight of them in total. They all have their roles to play and eventually you find out why the murder happened.

The Cast

I didn’t want to give too much away since each of the characters is unique in their own ways. Some seem evil right to the core, but as I’ve said earlier, nothing is as it seems. As per The Invisible Hours webpage, here are the cast of characters to their base core.

Nikolai Tesla

World famous inventor, futurist and arch-rival of Thomas Edison. Until a few months ago, Tesla was a flamboyant socialite – regularly seen charming potential investors at the finest restaurants in the city. And then suddenly, he cut ties with everyone. He stopped taking visitors, and fired his long-time assistant, Flora White. He became a recluse overnight, never leaving the workshop in his mansion, and no one knows why.

Soon after, Tesla advertised for a new assistant – with one strange condition: they must be blind. Oliver Swan was the only applicant. Tesla hired him immediately. Whatever Tesla was working on, he didn’t want to risk letting anyone see it.

Gustaf Gustav

Once known as the inspiration for the mystery novel “The Detective So Good They Named Him Twice”, these days this renowned Swedish Investigator is unemployed, bankrupt and alcoholic. He retired from police work in disgrace after an infamous killer convinced Gustaf of his innocence – whereupon Gustaf released him from custody. The killer went on to murder nine more people before he was finally recaptured.

Gustaf is haunted by his mistake, and has vowed never to make it again. No matter what.

Flora White

Flora has never been more alone: her husband only recently died at war, and when Tesla suddenly removed himself from public life, he immediately fired his assistant – Flora – much to her confusion. As a result, she has fallen on hard times, and has returned to Tesla’s island to beg for her job back. She doesn’t belong in this nest of snakes, but she is desperate.

Thomas Edison

Self-proclaimed genius Thomas Edison is already known as the “Wizard of Menlo Park” thanks to his latest creation: the Phonograph. But what his adoring public doesn’t know is that Edison stole the idea. Desperate to hide his crime, he traveled to the island when Tesla implied he was aware of Edison’s wrongdoings.

Could Edison have murdered Tesla to hide the truth?

Augustus Vanderberg

Son and heir to the richest family in England, the Vanderbergs, Augustus has never had to work a day in his life. He loves women, booze, and any pleasure he can get his hands on. And yet, he is quietly tortured by his need to impress his stoic father, Marcus Vanderberg – a legendary British engineer and railroad magnate.

Augustus once had an older brother who drowned when they were children. His father still mourns “the better son”. Perhaps Augustus’ interest in Tesla is part of an effort to finally impress his father?

Oliver Swan

Once a slave in Zanzibar, Swan escaped to the United States where he finds himself as an “indentured servant” – perhaps not much of a change after all; made especially painful since he abandoned his young son to get there.

Swan was born blind, making him the strange but ideal candidate to become Tesla’s new assistant. After all, what Tesla wanted most was to “keep his secrets safe from prying eyes”.

Did Swan learn something about Tesla that could have motivated him to commit murder?

Victor Mundy

Mundy is a murderer. Twenty-six years ago, he killed his wife in cold blood when he found her sleeping with another man. He was convicted thanks to the testimony of his own young daughter Mary. In all the years he spent incarcerated, he became obsessed with taking revenge against his daughter. Mundy is a man of strange contrast: a vicious killer, yet also a God-fearing art lover.

Killing is easy to a man like him. But why would he murder Tesla?

Sarah Bernhardt

World-famous stage actress and member of the Comédie-Française in Paris. Bernhardt is one of the biggest celebrities of the age. She made her fame on the stages of France in the early 1870s and was soon in demand in Europe and the Americas. She has developed a reputation as a serious dramatic actress, earning the nickname “The Divine Sarah”, and was the first woman in history to play Hamlet on film. For years, she has been dogged by rumors that she is secretly a high-class courtesan, but she doesn’t care.

Being mixed up in a murder investigation is quite a thrill to her – could she have killed Tesla just to make life a little less boring?

Final Reaction

Of all the games I’ve played on VR, this one is the most unique out of all of them. Not only did a great story play out, but the actors that played their parts made it believable. I could say there are limitations on what I was doing as a ghost, but it was still enjoyable and really reminded me of the board game Clue. I hope that Tequila Works creates a sequel, but this time you’re an actual part of the story. Or you’re the detective gathering clues. The game was breathtaking and the trying to solve the mystery was suspenseful. If you love an interactive mystery, I suggest you get this game.

Rating: 5/5 Atoms




Cast Source: The Invisible Hours Cast

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