Vacation Simulator Review: Nearly endless wonder

In the pantheon of VR games, Job Simulator is essentially royalty. It's one of the most popular VR games by a considerable margin, due in no small part to the sheer volume of things you can do in it. Owlchemy Labs worked tirelessly to anticipate every random thing someone might want to do in this game. If you want to make a soup out of apple juice and egg shells, while everyone watching you giggles relentlessly, you can with ease. It's fantastic, and something everyone who has ever played it or the Rick and Morty spinoff universally adore.

But it's time to stop slaving away in a cubicle or toil away repairing an endless line of cars in the shop. It's time to stop serving your robot overlords as they figure out how to keep the last of humanity alive and functional. Now it's time to relax, to soak up some sun by the beach or enjoy a peaceful camping trip in a cabin.

It's time to vacation. And vacation you shall.

The Good

  • Beautiful new worlds
  • More challenging puzzles
  • Fantastic teleportation and backpack mechanics
  • New mechanisms for progressing in the story are great

The Bad

  • Only allowing three save slots is weird

Vacation Simulator What I love

You don't actually have to pay attention to the underlying story in Job Simulator, but if you do it becomes pretty clear something dark happened to humanity. You're one of the last remaining humans, and the robots are trying to keep you alive and functional. Only, unlike other robot overlord stories, these robots are trying to give you purpose and make you feel like you're accomplishing things. That sense of purpose is important to humans, according to the robots. But humans also need time to do something that isn't work, and so your simulation now includes some time to relax.

It's so easy to get lost in this game for hours, with a smile on your face the entire time.

Vacation Simulator starts you off with an Avatar Creator, which is a new thing for Owlchemy Labs. You've got a lot of flexibility here to make sure you look like you, or someone else entirely. Whatever you prefer, there's a ton of options. It's simple, but a ton of fun.

Once you've chosen your look, you're presented with a small hotel room to explore. Leaving this room lets you go to one of three different vacation places to explore as you see fit. But before you go, the robots set you up with a special watch and a mission. In order to progress in this story, which includes exploring the other areas and unlocking the other vacation spots, you have to collect memories. You do this in a bunch of different ways, but mostly by approaching bots to solve their problems and playing minigames.

The folks at Owlchemy Labs have always included minigames in their VR experiences, short things you can get lost in for hours with friends and do whatever you can. But the games in Vacation Simulator span a incredible range of experiences. Some of them require exploration, hunting down bugs or finding secret video game cartidges, while others let you make you own ice sculptures and design epic sandcastles. There are a ton of these games scattered across the three worlds and they are both wildly fun and deeply challenging. In many cases you can do whatever you want and design something silly or fantastic, but there are puzzles you can solve within each to unlock memories and nothing beats flexing that creative muscle.

And while this all sounds fairly simple, that's what has always made this serious of games so great. It's so easy to get lost in this game for hours, with a smile on your face the entire time. And while my kids and I have easily spent 35 hours of time since Owlchemy Labs provided the review code, and there's no way we're even most of the way through this experience. And that doesn't include what will undoubtedly be an incredible assortment of secret achievements and bonus game modes I have yet to unlock.

In short, Vacation Simulator is bigger and more complex and wildly more amusing than its predecessors. And it's my new favorite thing to show anyone when they are experiencing VR for the first time.

Vacation Simulator What I want to see next

I am far from the average user when it comes to most things, and VR is almost assuredly also one of those things, but there are a few things I hope change a little as this game grows. For starters, when you create your avatar you are able to save it to one of three save slots in the game. That's probably fine for most folks, but as a father of three kids who are also huge fans of this game series (I mean, OMG Dad, Markiplier plays Job Simulator!) it means juggling accounts in a way that is kind of awkward.

I know the main reason the personalized avatar system exists is to make the game feel more like you're the one playing, and so you can have fun with either the included camera and the special spectator camera for live streaming and advanced capture modes, but a shared world would be cool as hell. As much fun as scoring goals against a robot goalie is, playing that game with my actual friends would be amazing. And a lot of the other minigames feel like there could be a multiplayer component organically, which I think would make an already amazing game feel more like its own virtual universe.

Finally, I'd like to see this game get new worlds over time with updates. Vacation Simulator feels like it was built to be expanded upon, or maybe even tweaked during different times of the year like with a carnival in the fall or something. Vacation Simulator is amazing as it is, but it would be amazing to see new content appear over time.

Vacation Simulator Should you buy it?

Yes. In fact, hell yes. Vacation Simulator is everything we all loved about the last two experiences, with a ton of new lessons learned and improved mechanics everywhere. Owlchemy Labs has outdone themselves in every possible way, and I look forward to spending many more hours exploring every pixel of these worlds.

5 out of 5

I played Vacation Simulator on Oculus Rift through Steam VR, but it is now available across all of the major VR platforms to enjoy no matter where you play!

Russell Holly

Russell is a Contributing Editor at Android Central. He's a former server admin who has been using Android since the HTC G1, and quite literally wrote the book on Android tablets. You can usually find him chasing the next tech trend, much to the pain of his wallet. Find him on Facebook and Twitter