Tentacular offers up dozens of interesting puzzles to solve, set throughout a fascinating origins story of the giant you'll be playing as. The pacing is a bit slow, but puzzle and physics game fans should have a great time with the mechanics.
- Charming stylized visuals
- Intriguing story
- Great physics simulations
- Surprising mission variety
- Pacing is a bit slow
- Mission structure feels random
- Some mechanics can be very frustrating
During Tentacular's two-year development cycle, the developers had one thing in mind: create something odd, silly, unique, and, most importantly, fun. For the most part, they did a great job at delivering on their goals. Tentacular puts you in the shoes or, rather, the tentacles of a giant octopus who is just trying to find its place in the world.
Throughout the game’s 50+ physics-based levels, you’ll be constructing weird structures using shipping containers, steel girders, and giant magnets, while other missions have you launching similar items Angry Birds-style to destroy stuff. Other times, you’ll find yourself launching rockets through hoops in the sky, tweaking rocket engine placement for better flights, and helping the people of the island of La Kalma empty their trash.
It’s a surprisingly diverse series of to-dos with some inconsistent pacing in between, especially considering how interesting the story is. But, if you’re a puzzle or physics geek, this is a really fun game to spend a few hours in. The $25 price will feel worth it so long as you have the patience to make it through the game and unlock everything in the sandbox. Let’s dive into our Tentacular review for Quest 2.
Tentacular — What I liked
As the game begins, it becomes apparent that over the years, Kaijus have seemingly gotten a bad rap. Seeing this unfold from the perspective of being a Kaiju was rather interesting, and interacting with the folks that live on the island of La Kalma was usually very pleasant. All except for that Mollusk guy, who of course, is a clear stand-in for a certain eccentric billionaire.
Ironically enough, you’ll be helping this very character throughout the game to find a new way to efficiently propel rockets to outer space. It feels like a side story to what the original mission is (simply helping the people of La Kalma), but it’s this very story that helps reveal the origins of your birth on Earth.
The game’s physics simulations all felt very on-point, especially given that you have giant tentacles to grab everything with. You’ll move your arms around and grab things with the grip buttons on the controllers but beware, the heavier objects in the game are, the more difficult they are to maneuver.
|Platforms||Meta Quest 2, Steam VR|
|Game size||602 MB|
|Play time||6+ hours|
The mission variety is fairly wide, including missions where you’ll build, missions where you’ll toss things, and missions where you’ll launch things. There are no Godzilla-esque smashing cities happening here. The game is all about creating wacky items and structures and using them in unexpected ways.
The game has over 50 physics-based puzzles and sequences to finish, complete with several different physics playgrounds that you can explore to your heart’s content. While you can virtually move your character around a bit with the joystick, most levels require you to be in a relatively small area in order to complete them properly.
This isn’t a giant open world, even if it’s designed as an exploratory title. If anything, it would fit in quite nicely on a list of games to play first when you pick up a Quest 2. Players won’t find themselves getting sick from virtual movement in VR, and the mechanics are simple enough to where you only really need to press one or two buttons throughout the entirety of the game.
I also loved the game’s charming, Katamari-like visuals complete with a lack of bilinear texture filtering and the funny, nonsensical voices the characters use throughout. It’s also incredibly family-friendly in a way many games don’t always try to be. It was nice to play alongside my younger son without having to worry about bad language or graphic violence.
To complete that circle of thought, Tentacular sports a rather nice height and tentacle length adjustment system that makes it super friendly for players of all sizes and ages to experience the game.
Tentacular — What I didn’t like
For me, the biggest negative of the game was getting stuck finishing a puzzle I found to be overly frustrating or annoying. While the game’s level structure is quite varied and normally doesn’t make you do the same thing too many times in a row, I found some of the puzzles to be overly difficult for physical reasons.
For example, one mission tasks players with tossing rockets into the air so they can eject the pilot. The objective is to land the pilot on a set of three islands, all of which are different distances apart. While tossing in VR is fun, accurately tossing anything in VR can be an exercise in frustration. It’s why games like Alvo give players an arc to aim grenades with that are independent from the actual mechanical throwing movement of your arm.
Other times, I found that the giant tentacles caused me to accidentally knock over a structure I just spent several minutes building. This is, of course, part of the charm and overall design of the game but it didn’t help save me from my own feelings.
While the game’s theme and visuals are certainly family-friendly, younger players might find themselves getting even more frustrated than I did. More than once my son got so mad he wanted to throw the headset or the controllers. That’s not uncommon with kids and difficult games, but the physical mechanics of some of the puzzles are what really frustrated him the most.
I also would have liked to see some better pacing with the puzzles. Many of the levels feel like they’re drawn out for no good reason, with only a simple puzzle to quickly solve until you’re onto the next one. It felt a bit long to finally “unlock” all of my abilities, and it seems like many of the initial levels could just be combined into a few for simplicity’s sake.
Tentacular — Should you buy?
While the pacing might be a bit slow for some players, anyone who loves a good physics puzzle game should mostly feel at home. The biggest barrier of entry is going to be for players who find some of the more physically-precise puzzles difficult to solve. While some puzzles can be challenging, others can be downright frustrating because they are physically difficult to complete.
But, if you can get through those levels and uncover the secrets of your character's origins, Tentacular delivers a charming, interesting story that fits well with the tasks you'll be performing. Unlocking items and resources to use in the sandbox levels is a great endgame, given the assumed player base, and folks who make it to the end should enjoy the crazy building challenges they're sure to make for themselves.
Ten times the fun
Tentacular for Meta Quest 2
Play as a giant octopus and help the residents of La Kalma by building crazy structures, launching rockets, and finding your place in the world.
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