Euclidean is a game that upon starting it up, you find yourself painting the moon. While you mess around with the paint and canvas, you may notice the odd flicker. The more time passes, the more aggressive it seems to get until the moon itself separates into black blobs then proceed to swallow you before you have time to react. We then find ourselves falling down into a foreboding and surreal world without a clue as to why this happened or if you are even alive as you stare at your now transparent hands.
It is not falling as you may imagine it, it feels more as if we are slowly floating down the abyss itself. The environments are dark and muddled though we are tasked with not touching or crashing into anything on our way down. Clicking on the Vive’s trackpad the direction you want to go is how you maneuver around this place though are overall control is very limited since we move slowly. It requires planning, memorization, and luck instead of fast reflexes.
Rocks and debris are not the only things down here. Strange-looking creatures also lurk this world. Most seem indifferent to your presence, but they do move around a lot which can still kill you if you slam into their enormous bodies. Sometimes we will find ourselves on a collision path with one of them and not have enough time to move. In this case, we can make use of our phasing power that allows us to pass right through most objects made of flesh. It also has the side effect of making the world temporarily even more creepy looking, but it is a blessing in disguise as you can now see what is around you more clearly.
Quite a lot to take in all of a sudden but if we make it to the bottom we’ll find an orb with dark energy swirling around it. Contrary to what your senses tell you, you must try to land near it, or you will meet your end. If you manage to reach it, the darkness will once again swallow you up and take you to the next level. Each level will take you deeper and deeper into the unknown, but with no other choice, we must venture further towards either salvation or damnation. Every area has their own unique looking environments but share the same goal of letting the darkness engulf you.
Without a doubt, the premise and the surreal nature of Euclidean is amazing which makes it all the more saddening that I must condemn it due to its gameplay. It is boring, frustrating and literally a pain in the neck since you must be looking down at all times, which while wearing the Vive can get straining. Slowly floating down with little control to your movement is not at all fun and it is quite the challenge to see anything unless you use your phasing ability. Use that however, and it will need to recharge before it can be used again. That could very well spell your death so is ill advised. Your best bet is to memorize the levels, and even then it felt like sheer luck that I even made it through the levels.
It is an absolute chore to make it deep into a level, die and be sent back to the start of it since there are no checkpoints. Slowly floating down only to unexpectedly die then be forced to slowly make your way back down is not fun. Most of your time will be spent holding the trackpad in the direction you want to go and looking straight down while waiting to hopefully make progress. At times it felt more like I was playing with an interactive screen saver or something, more so than a video game. There are only nine levels that will last you around an hour or less if you are more skilled than I, but even at that length, I was glad it had finally ended.
You’ll have three difficulty modes to choose from, and you may change it at any time from the start menu. The only difference I could tell between them was the amount of time it took for your phase ability to recharge. Also found in the options menu, you will also have a neat little feature to give yourself a transparent body instead of just having hands. It can be played without a VR headset, but I would not recommend that as this feels made for it and the sense of falling through a giant, foreign world will be lost. I have no problem with games that set out to be an experience but when you add slow, extremely basic gameplay as well as harsh punishments it brings the whole thing down. Euclidean got everything right, but the actual game part of video games and as such I can not recommend it.