Ionia has some appealing concepts and the environmentally-conscious themes show its heart is in the right place. The climbing mechanic and other physical interactions are also well suited to VR. But there just isn’t enough to do, and in Ionia’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it run time I was never challenged physically or mentally. Even the centerpiece musical aspects really just amounted to me plunking a few notes and moving on. Despite a few highlights, this is one adventure that doesn’t live up to the magical premise.
There are some interesting concepts that are introduced but only minimally explored, and I found myself confused by the unfulfilled promise of a sprawling narrative. I’d be interested to return to this world again in a more fleshed-out game, but right now there’s not enough here to justify a purchase for most.
There are plenty of issues that still need refining like opening the menu, lack of saving and lack of a properly seated option. Even with all of that, there’s still hope. The world-building and narrative ideas show great promise and it would be tremendous to see further editions expand the premise. Only then would Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia be worth exploring.
As gorgeous and well-intentioned as it may be, it’s tough to recommend Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia in its current form. There are moments of splendor in this opening act, but they’re far too fleeting and around a third of the incredibly short 45-minute runtime is spent watching its world instead of interacting with it. ROTU will have its work cut out for it in future episodes if this series is to bounce back from this underwhelming first installment but, for what it’s worth, we’re rooting for it.
Rhythm of the Universe: Ionia guides you through simple one-off puzzles and frontloads an embarrassing amount of exposition and cutscenes that stubbornly put cinematic pretense ahead of user immersion. Ionia talks of big game, but this musical adventure is over before it truly begins, which considering the level of pretense isn't the worse thing about this meandering 45-minute experience.
SummaryIONIA is a single-player fantasy-adventure puzzle VR game for all ages. Get up close with music-inspired creatures in a lush forest teeming with life. Discover music-based magic on your quest to save the Harpa, a mythical creature whose habitat is on the brink of destruction.