When it comes to VR titles like Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken, it is important to take a step back and try to view the game as objectively as possible. The world of VR is filled with countless puzzle games that are constantly vying for your attention, and sometimes comparing them too closely is unfair.
While titles like The 7th Guest VR and The Last Clockwinder will give you plenty of space and lots to do, others like Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken, will confine you to a single room. This is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if the developer has chosen an environment that plays to the strengths of the concept.
Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken is in no way a narrative-driven or world-changing puzzle game. ForwardXP, the developer and publisher behind the title, kept to a simple concept where the player stands in front of a console and presses buttons, flips switches, turns dials, etc. in an effort to produce a variety of results.
Aside from a shelf that sits to the right of the player, and provides an occasional resource to the puzzle solving experience, you are mostly limited to the console. The console does a few wild things, but that is essentially it. You’re stuck in a barren room when in full VR mode, and the only extra excitement you might get is playing in mixed reality to experience the setup in your own environment. The concept is a novel idea, but unfortunately grows to be fairly tiring in a short amount of time.
Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken Grows Old a Little Too Fast
I’ll readily admit that I had not tried Please Don’t Touch Anything, before playing this most recent installment, and so my review never rests on the nostalgia of the original. Given the beloved predecessor, it would not be surprising for some gamers to disagree with my thoughts, but keep in mind this was my first introduction into the series.
When I started my playthrough, I went in completely blind, and for the first half hour or so I was fascinated by how the puzzles develop into various branches. Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken does not reward you with prizes or gear, instead each time you solve a version of the puzzle you get a special ending.
There are 15 different endings and when you have succeeded in discovering one, a sticker appears and attaches to the console. This is how the game keeps up with your progress. These stickers are certainly a fun and creative way of keeping track. Nevertheless, a unique progression system was not enough enough to save a game I felt lost its luster way too quickly into the experience.
A lot of the puzzles are not really puzzles per se, as some involve very little brain power to accomplish a task. You can trigger a few of the endings by mere chance, and in at least one instance by mere frustration. There are times when the solution to an ending is simply testing a bunch of three or four digit numbers from around the room, until they trigger a sequence of events that leads you to the end.
When you do get an ending, usually you are treated to a brief animation that makes a not-so-subtle pop culture reference. A lot of the time I was left saying to myself “is that it?” This question would then be confirmed by the reset pull blinking to indicate that the sequence was in fact over.
Since the console branches into several endgame moments, instead of drawing out a more realized challenge, it feels like the puzzles have no depth. Perhaps if the console had been a single puzzle, then the game might have more character, but instead it relies on overused gags to get the job done.
There is one puzzle in the bunch that is significantly harder than the rest, but this doesn’t elevate Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken to top tier puzzle form. Instead, it feels like the developers were concerned the game would not be hard enough, and so this additional challenge was thrown in to try and stump the more demanding puzzle aficionados.
Those who successfully complete this challenge might feel the accomplishment of getting to the end result, but there will likely be others scratching their heads over the whiplash of difficulty as compared to the rest of the game.
All of this is not to say Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken is a horrible game. There are certainly fun moments and the concept is quite unique, but it never seems to live anywhere close to full potential. Also, given the plethora of other puzzle competitors on the market, it may not be worth the money for some.
Ultimately, I believe it’s too short and not well-rounded enough to be one of the better available games. If you are running low on puzzle titles to try, this would be a safe suggestion, but if you’re new to the genre, it probably shouldn’t land at the top of your wishlist.
Please Don’t Touch Anything House Broken was review on Quest 2 with a code provided by fortyseven communications.