Remember the iconic 1993 film, Groundhog Day? It is a favourite for kids and adults alike. It follows a small television crew going off to cover the day the groundhog may or may not emerge from the ground. Only the front-of-camera presenter – played by Bill Murray – becomes cynical and discovers reliving the same day over and over again.
The location is the small town of Punxsutawney where the crew are due to report about the town’s annual Groundhog Day event. Murray excels in this role as he wakes every morning at six to hear the radio playing the same old song, “I Got You Babe” by Sonny and Cher.
Now there is a follow up and it is in the form of a VR game entitled: Groundhog Day – Like Father like Son. Although it would be impossible to live up to the original, this step seems to be a bizarre but fascinating for gamers wanting a VR experience.
The game still delivers many slick lines, tender moments and heartbreak – all of which were featured so brilliantly in this original movie. When you consider the outstanding source material of the movie, you somehow won’t mind reliving the same day over and over again.
There are not many blockbuster movies that produce a sequel in the form of a VR game, but Tequila Works – the developing company – are used to gaming technology and filming. They are working extensively with MWM Interactive (a graphics specialist) and the publishing company Sony (who need absolutely no introduction).
What Can I Play This On?
What is the Gameplay Like?
The burning question on every player’s lips will be what the gameplay is actually like. Well, as you might deduce from the title, Phil Connors (the cynical weatherman played by Bill Murray) has now passed away.
He is survived by his family which includes a son. Every year, Connor’s family mourn with a memorial service the day before Groundhog Day. But like father, like son, Junior is just as flippant and narky as his weatherman father was. He has a big ego and very little patience. Now, like his father, he is about to endure an unwanted and annoying time loop.
Phil Connor Junior is a sassy young adult who is on his way to meet up with some video editing company. But he is trapped in the same town that saw his father meet his fate – Punxsutawney.
This young kid has many flaws and not all of them are pleasant ones. Rather than reconnect with his friends and family, who are there each year to honour the memory of his Dad, Junior just wants to make a fast buck out the whole affair.
The memorial service is covered by Junior in a vlog. This brings the 90s classic right up to date with the technology side of things. However, Junior seems more interested in gaining revenue from this service rather than showing dignified remorse.
Then Junior gets snowed in himself, just like father was. The gameplay now takes on a fascinating sequence of déjà vu for Junior. He is forced to relive the same day all over again until he corrects the error of his ways.
The voice over from actors is brilliant and completes the VR graphics immaculately and then there are the emotional references.
Key and specific moments are covered in the film sequel that will actually get you thinking about your own life. Anyone who has stuffed up a friendship and not discovered a way to redeem that loss, or anybody who has lost one of their parents and seems more intent on living their selfish life and those of us who just cannot see a way of reconnecting with friends and family.
These compassionate areas are all covered in here and Groundhog Day VR really does get you right here [at which point you can make a fist and hit your heart three times].
But what about humour? Well, there’s not a great deal of it and it mostly comes in the form of an odd smile rather than a full-on belly laugh.
There are some tweaks the gameplay will let you change things. You can reset the day by drinking booze until you become unconscious. You could also grab a drill and try drilling through your brain or inhaling toxic spray paints but there is not much in the way of helping other people and there is little risqué than the original film.
However, there seems to be a lack of choice in the players can and cannot do. Every interface and new scenario drops down a list of things you could say or do. The gamer’s choice becomes somewhat limited here.
Why the developers decided to make this game in VR and not simply a VR film will be something open for long discussion among the many fans of Groundhog Day. You just know in the end that the resentful and repented character will win the day in the end.
There are a number of smaller games to get involved in too. These can be interesting and serve as an interlude for the Groundhog Day experience. It is worth playing some of these little games that are more like sideshows on the way to you becoming a better person who has repented.
Groundhog Day Sideshow Events
If you do well in these smaller sideshow games, you can gain points which can be used against some of the more tedious choices in the main gameplay. Moreover, they are all in wonderful VR too.
Strangely enough, some of the decisions you make in the VR gameplay have little or no bearing on events later in the game; which might put out some gamers who love a real challenge.