Before escape rooms, before VR headsets, there was Myst. The 1993 CD-ROM game was, decades ago, my very favorite form of virtual reality. I clicked through it, mesmerized, haunted by the images, confused by the puzzles. I’ve played it over and over again on game consoles, and on the iPad and iPhone. It’s back again in VR form, and this might be the best version yet.
Cyan Worlds, the company that Myst creators Rand and Robyn Miller started, still makes games, and many of them are VR-focused. Obduction, a PC virtual reality puzzle game, came out in 2016. Cyan also has a new VR game coming in the future, called Firmament. In the meantime, Myst has gotten a total VR makeover, launching as an Oculus Quest exclusive at first before moving to PC.
Is it worth your while? I’ve been playing for a few days on the RealMyst, had the same sort of translation from flat clickable images to a 3D world., and I’ve been pretty stunned by the game’s visuals and immersive sound. It’s still completely the same Myst game as before, and movement is handled by teleporting (sort of like a click, but not really). The already available 3D version of Myst, called
What’s new here is the way my hands can reach out and control things. Instead of clicking a door handle, I can move a floating hand and grab the handle. Or turn a knob. Or pull a lever. It’s very much like what other VR games already do well, and that escape-room-like VR experiences such as The Room VR excel at. It makes Myst feel more like a living world.
But it’s not entirely a new experience. The static landscapes and click-and-move style of exploration are the same, which is mostly great. Sometimes I do miss the booklike flow of the original Myst, though. Much like the game itself was about a magic book whose pages opened to other worlds, the original Myst’s gameplay moved like a magic picture book. Finding details and clicking on them was part of the strange wondrous experience. You never knew what you might find.
Looking up, or down, or around, is a different experience. Finding clues, I wondered how I’d write them down (I ended up peeking below my VR headset and jotting them on my phone). I’d love to have some sort of in-game notepad — luckily, there’s supposed to be a “journalism system” coming in an update, but I don’t know how that will work.
One nice touch in this Myst is a puzzle randomizer that could make solving the game a new experience, even if you’ve done it before.
Myst takes up a lot of storage space on the Quest 2 (nearly 9.5GB), so keep that in mind. If you have a 64GB Quest or Quest 2, that’s a whole bunch of storage it’ll eat up. But if you’ve never ever played Myst before and you have an Oculus Quest, this is a pretty fantastic and meditative puzzle experience. But it also makes me hunger for a brand-new Cyan VR game that could stretch out to even bolder, wilder places, too.