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Ionia Review

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

A beautiful game that suffers from control issues

Let’s get started on this Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review.

What is Rhythm of the Universe IONIA?

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA is a fantasy adventure puzzle-solving game. You are Allegro, a mute. You set out with Allegra your sister on a journey to save the Harpa – a mysterious creature that is the heart of the Ionian forest. The world is full of mystery, strange creatures, and music.

I also want to note here that 5% of the total sales of this game will be donated to the Wildlife Warriors which is Steve Irwin’s son’s company for wildlife preservation.Wildlife Warriors PartnershipSte - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

Who Makes Rhythm of the Universe IONIA?

ROTU Entertainment logoRhythm of the Universe IONIA is made by ROTU Entertainment. They are a Boston-based developer. They have worked on several musical charitable video projects but Rhythm of the Universe IONIA is their first VR project.

Which VR Headsets is Rhythm of the Universe IONIA On?

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA is available on Steam VR, Oculus Rift, and Oculus Quest 2.

Steam Logo 1 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review Oculus rift 2 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review MetaQuestLogo - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Tutorial

The game starts with a brief tutorial option. This allows you to get familiar with the teleportation controls and the climbing that will be used throughout the game. It also will play some cinematics and lore via some stones. There is nothing too complicated in terms of controls. There are a lot of backstories thrown at you with not a lot of visuals. It is an intro to how delightful the visuals of the game will be though.

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review Gameplay

After the brief tutorial, you start the actual game. This happens with a 2D cinematic on a movie screen in front of you. It is a very nice-looking intro but I was puzzled why I was watching a movie on a screen in VR to start the game off. It IS a very attractive animation clip that gives you a little more back story and tells you about the Harpa and how it is being left behind.VirtualDesktop.Android 20210922 163850 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

As the game starts you meet your sister Allegra who says you need to go find the Harpa! You will then be immersed in maybe one of the more beautiful games I’ve seen in VR. There are large rooms in a forest that reminds you of Avatar and Pandora. Yeah, that 2009 movie. There is also a mysterious element to everything as you see strange ruins all around you. It looks seriously impressive. Then you start to move…..

Seriously Bad Controls

com.oculus.vrshell 20210922 173812 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

Unfortunately, this is where the game has some serious issues.

There are 2 choices for movement controls and both are pretty bad. If you choose slide movement you have walk movement but move at a ridiculously slow pace. There are also very few colliders in the game so you will frequently walk into objects and your hands will float through most things.

Teleportation is really the only movement option. It also has if you push right on the Joystick to turn you end up turning left in-game. Very annoying. No way to switch this. I frequently would just keep pushing to go all the way around in a circle.

I don’t mind using teleportation but this particular version only allows you to teleport to certain areas. This is shown with a blue circle, otherwise, you will see a red line and x. I understand not being able to teleport EVERYWHERE, but the main floor areas seem like they should be accessible. They are not. Only certain main spots are. You will be hovering around for a while trying to figure out where you can move to. I haven’t seen a game use something like this in a while.

You also will be required to climb a bunch in this game. The object that you need to climb will be highlighted in a golden color. Several games use this mechanic so it’s pretty straightforward here. I still ended up falling a few times and had to do the whole climb again. Especially when you need to turn to interact with objects.

The puzzles themselves worked without any glitches or issues. You don’t have any inventory or other things to deal with. There are also no collectibles or extra “game” elements either.

Although the visuals were very impressive, there were several moments I lost total immersion. When a character would talk to me, its eyes would be looking far off in a different direction than I was standing is one good example. There were also some weird shadows on the water part of the game. When you see something like this it just destroys the VR world they worked so hard to create.

Easy Puzzles

The puzzles in the game are also pretty uncomplicated and simple. Usually only requiring you to explore around your environment a bit to figure things out. There is a big emphasis on music, but the music puzzles are very basic. I figured out everything on the first or second try. You will even have Allegra in the background standing near objects saying “Is this a clue?” if you needed an extra 20210922 170813 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

Amazing Music

The music in this game is a real highlight. It’s clear the developers have a background in musical visual experiences. At times it felt like I was attending a concert. The voice acting was also very good.

There were even a few moments where I squealed with VR delight! At one point you feed a creature and it’s really magical. Another is taking a swing zipline through a VERY beautiful landscape with wildlife flying all around you. I gasped and fully enjoyed these moments.

Then you would land and have to deal with the controls again. Bad controls are a pretty common experience in VR games these days. I hope more developers work on this before releasing their games in the future. There is SUCH a beautiful world they created here and it is just so difficult to see it and interact with it because of how the controls work.

EforEveryone - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA ReviewWho Will Enjoy Playing Rhythm of the Universe IONIA?

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA is not yet rated. I imagine it will be E for Everyone but will update when it is released. People who enjoy VR experiences that are beautiful and are willing to focus on those elements instead of hardcore gameplay and puzzle elements will enjoy Rhythm of the Universe IONIA.

What Games are similar to Rhythm of the Universe IONIA?

Rhythm of the Universe VR is almost an experience instead of a game. It has very beautiful visuals and some real breathtaking VR moments. Some similar games would be Flow Weaver, Tripp, and Ryte the Eye of Atlantis.


How long is Rhythm of the Universe IONIA?

The entire experience is about an hour. That also includes several minutes of cinematics that you watch. This will be a downside for many. It has been mentioned that additional chapters of the game will be released in the future, and I hope they do because it seems like this story is just getting started.

Can you play Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Sitting Down?

Yes! Rhythm of the Universe can be played sitting down. I had no issues playing seated and using teleportation. (Beyond what I’ve already mentioned about the controls) You could also play standing.

SittingVR - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA ReviewStandingVR - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review

Does Rhythm of the Universe IONIA cause motion sickness?

NoMotionSickness e1614128840883 - Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review IONIA VR involves first-person movement. Most people will use teleportation which helps with motion sickness. There is one moment where you turn in a circle which might be upsetting to some but overall the teleportation movement minimized motion sickness.

Rhythm of the Universe IONIA should not cause any motion sickness issues.

Final Thoughts On Rhythm of the Universe IONIA Review. Is Rhythm of the Universe IONIA worth it?

I would have to say Rhythm of the Universe IONIA is NOT worth it. It really is too bad because it is a beautiful game, but the controls really ruin things.


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