Write a review on an abstract music VR experience they said. It’ll be fun they said.
Dimensional Intersection from Nicalis is something of a tricky title to write about. With no gameplay, so to speak, how are you meant to write a game review? As I stated above, this is an abstract music experience, not a video game in the traditional sense. There are some minor interactions to be had but here’s the gist of things. You slap on your headset, an ambient music track plays, pretty colours and 3D shapes flow around you like some sort of digital lava lamp, and you can change the colours and affect the patterns around you by moving your controller around and pressing buttons. That’s it.
I’m not sure what else you expect me to say about Dimensional Intersection, because that’s the entire “game”. It starts up, and you just press a button to begin. Every experience is different from the last, and there’s a strange ball on your controller that you can push towards the objects around you and they sort of create swiss cheese-style holes in the objects. It’s certainly not a bad thing, though – as long as you go into the experience knowing exactly what to expect. It’s one of those titles where you just chill out and sit back to enjoy, and maybe make the occasional movement every now and again.
Dimension Intersection is meditative, it’s relaxing, it’s immersive, it’s a place to go and think, it’s a place to switch off, it’s a place to have abstract interactions within an alien environment; it’s whatever you want/need it to be at that moment. In a previous discussion about the wider use of VR, I foresaw this kind of therapeutic/zen experience coming about for uses beyond just pure gaming. In that sense, Dimensional Intersection is interesting because it’s testing the waters to see who this kind of experience attracts, and what sort of price drives people to dive in. What price would it take for you to have your very own personal 3D techno world inside your head?
The enjoyment that you may gain from the experience is completely subjective to you as the player. If you enjoyed games like Rez on the PS2 and you don’t mind having the shooting gameplay stripped out, or if you’ve stared at music visualisation algorithms for hours on end wishing they could have depth and place you squarely in their 3D space in some kind of magical VR land, then Dimensional Intersection is exactly what you’re looking for.
For anyone else not interested in this kind of thing, I don’t know, give it a try. You might find yourself wanting to unwind one day, desperate to escape somewhere that lets you switch off and unwind, and you’ll launch this game up and make good use of it. However it’s worth mentioning that the music is a little full-on in places, so it’s not quite “chilled out” in the sense you can close your eyes and relax on the beach listening to it, but it is the kind of music that would be described at some sort of trance/chillout combination. It’s definitely something you can relax to if you try – although maybe you’ll need to turn the volume down a bit!
Can I give Dimensional Intersection a score? Possibly. Well, since I’m actually required to, I can’t go with the alternative. The only question I can ask myself when considering a score is: does it give you an effective toolset to help accommodate the kind of experience it’s aiming to be? Does it do it for a good price? Is there enough variety on offer to make it worth multiple trips? Again, these questions are all pretty subjective; way more so than any other game review I’ve done. The answers also depend on what I think the developer’s incentives and goals were to begin with.
My answers to those questions are mostly positive, but if I was to pick faults, I’d like more control over the background and have more options at my disposal, so that the experience feels less random. Currently, Dimensional Intersection just lets you tag along for the ride, and that’s fine, but more user input would be a welcome addition. Essentially, this entire review was a fancy way of saying “this is a music visualiser in 3D VR”. If that sounds like you, enjoy!