Skip to main content

Cosmonious High Review: a VR playground full of friendly faces

Bigger and mostly better.

Cosmonious High screenshot
(Image: © Owlchemy Labs)

Our Verdict

Owlchemy Labs has another hit on their hands with Cosmonious High. Delivering charming fun for all ages with a deluge of puns, memorable — if one-note — characters, and fantastically varied puzzle designs, Cosmonious High will be remembered as a classic VR game, even if it's not quite as groundbreaking as Job Simulator.

For

  • Family-friendly fun
  • Creative mechanics
  • Unique art style
  • Lots of content
  • Well-written

Against

  • Not the best for longer play sessions
  • Can be overwhelming at times
  • Occasionally inconsistent

Cosmonious High presents a vibrant VR playground full of unique ideas. Its puzzles could certainly drag on users during longer play sessions, but its cast of characters, vibrant color palette, and punny dialogue help to keep the game from ever getting stale.

What's good

A hand with a snowflake on it shoots ice at a cartoonishly large bunsen burner.

(Image credit: Owlchemy Labs)

Cosmonious High by the numbers:
Category
TitleCosmonious High
DeveloperOwlchemy Labs
PublisherOwlchemy Labs
GenreAdventure, Puzzle
Quest ModelQuest 2 Only
PC System RequirementsWindows 10, Intel Core i5-4590 equivalent or better, 8GB RAM, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 / 970, AMD Radeon RX 480 equivalent or better, 5GB available space
Game File Size3.18GB
PlayersSingle-Player
Play Time5-10 hours
Launch Price$30

Like the best family-friendly games, Cosmonious High's aimed as much at younger audiences as it is towards adults. Owlchemy understands that people of all ages are likely to walk (or teleport) through the halls of Cosmonious High, and its gameplay complexity and diversity reflect that.

You'll play as a Prismi, a type of alien that can adapt their abilities and powers to their surroundings. Cosmonious High throws a number of seemingly unsolvable puzzles in front of you, only for your hands to start glowing, initiating a sequence where you get a new power.

Unlocking a new ability is always exciting. It doesn't just let you explore new areas of Cosmonious High, it lets you interact with the space school in exciting ways. For example, a new power might allow you to uncover a hidden collectible or complete a side quest. Another might allow you to clean up a pile of dust blocking a door or put out a fire that's just started.

One of the first areas you gain access to is the sci-fi equivalent to a chemistry lab, where you can make all sorts of solutions and chemicals that can change how you interact and play with various objects in the world.

Cosmonious High screenshot

(Image credit: Owlchemy Labs)

Where some puzzle-adventure games would see players focusing on one core mechanic and expecting them to turn it inside-out, Cosmonious High opts to include a wide breadth of mechanics that often play together in interesting ways. While only the game's most complex, optional puzzles will ask players to cycle through the game's myriad of mechanics quickly, its moment-to-moment gameplay will certainly require you to make equal use of every power at your disposal.

In-between solving puzzles and exploring, you'll be introduced to Cosmonious High's teachers and students. Each character fills in a specific archetype that you might expect from any John Hughes movie, just with less hostility. The nerd has a crush on the jock, the goth kid has a creative streak, and the class clown has a mildly contentious relationship with the rich kid.

This sense of humor and fun bleeds into the gameplay at every turn, too.

None of the characters would be specifically memorable if it wasn't for the game's writing. As it progresses, students and teachers at Cosmonious High collectively change and progress in one small, very specific way that makes a world of difference in making the environment and cast of characters come alive.

Beyond this shift, which I won't spoil because it's genuinely great, Cosmonious High's also very funny. A teacher might have students work on a "secret assignment" that involves hiding from the authorities. A student might secretly be a superhero who occasionally speaks in the voice of a demon. Everyone's quippy in their own way.

This sense of humor and fun bleeds into the gameplay at every turn, too. As much as Cosmonious High has a critical, main story, it's clear that it was made by the developers who made other VR classics like Job Simulator. You're not just allowed, but encouraged, to mess around and have fun with the game's incredible systems.

What's not good

Cosmonious High screenshot

(Image credit: Owlchemy Labs)

Of course, if you're just there for the game's main story, this might not be for you. Progression in Cosmonious High's gated by a credit system, so if you haven't spent enough time earning credits in various classes or solving puzzles across the school, or just want to get all the powers and mess around, you'll need to be somewhat patient.

The only other real problem with the game is that it can get stale in longer play sessions. As traditional video games began opening up, mechanics and puzzles became a means of filling up larger worlds and levels, rather than a means of engaging with a game in a new way.

Cosmonious High doesn't go nearly as far as some more egregious examples of bigger not meaning better, but playing for more than an hour will often require you to repeat the same types of puzzles. Being a game aimed at younger players, likely with shorter attention spans, that's not a big problem, especially when you consider how painful it can be to wear the Quest 2 for longer play sessions anyways.

Of course, if you've grabbed yourself a replacement for that uncomfortable head strap, you might find yourself wanting to play for longer. There are enough different collectibles, sidequests, and optional rooms to bolster the game overall, but progression might still feel stale if it's been a while since you've gotten a new power.

Who's Cosmonious High actually for?

This isn't the kind of game that parents might need to watch over a child's shoulder while playing, nor is it a game only for kids. It's the ideal blend of charming and family-friendly that makes it hard not to recommend. Whenever the player takes a long time to complete a puzzle if, say, they're busy playing with the vending machine in the corner as I did for a solid fifteen minutes, one of the game's characters will start giving players hints about what they need to do.

While this can read like hand-holding, it's clear that it exists to accommodate players who aren't the most accustomed to playing games, especially kids. On the other side, it's still well-written and complex enough for any adult to have fun with it. Pointing your hand at an object and pulling it towards you like you're using The Force never got old.

It also feels perfectly situated for people looking for a break from this year's intense, involved, and less-upbeat affairs like Elden Ring, Ghostwire Tokyo, or Horizon: Forbidden West, swapping out tough bosses for challenging puzzles or long combat sections for playing with bubbles in a supercollider. It's a totally goofy, fun game that's unashamed to embrace its inner child.

Should you buy it?

Cosmonious High screenshot

(Image credit: Owlchemy Labs)

Cosmonious High isn't as groundbreaking or genre-defining as Job Simulator was back in 2016, but it's still one of the most immersive VR playgrounds out there. You could easily spend an hour in the game's starting area just messing around with its physics.

Progressing only makes it easier and easier to get lost playing catch with yourself or searching for collectibles. This is one of the few VR games that truly feels designed for all audiences.

Fun puzzle mechanics that consistently evolve throughout the game and witty writing play off each other incredibly well, making even its most stale moments worth playing. Cosmonious High's a must-try game that's as much a safe bet for parents with kids as it is for someone looking for a charming, fun escape.

Charlie's a freelance contributor at Android Central from Milwaukee, WI.