Maze Theory has brought their VR first-person action game Doctor Who: Edge of Reality to the Nintendo Switch and other consoles, and this title is based off of the incredibly popular Doctor Who series from BBC. This original story contains both the Thirteenth Doctor and the Tenth Doctor in an epic quest to save the universe!
But is this original story a worthy use of the TARDIS? Or should these two Doctors (And you) avoid this mission at all cost? Well, let’s find out, shall we?
As stated, Doctor Who: Edge of Reality is an original story that follows a companion of the Thirteenth Doctor as they begin their journey against a reality virus that is bound to destroy the universe. It is a bit strange to control a nameless/faceless avatar, so it is difficult to connect with the main protagonist and care about what they are doing, despite the fact that the Thirteenth Doctor is excellently narrating a lot of the story.
The story is, by far and large, the best part of the game. It is nothing really to write home about, but it is a fun dive into the Doctor Who universe with some familiar faces as well as some new ones to mix things up a bit. There are new threats and monsters in Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality, which are all frighteningly detailed and quite creepy, that add a lot to the original story. The concept here is to retrieve three time crystals en route to help the Thirteenth Doctor to use a vortex manipulator to escape the end of time and deal with the reality virus herself.
This basically gives the companion (Our avatar) 5 total missions (One to initiate, three to collect time crystals, and one to finish things off), which lends to a poor reality that Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality is a disappointingly short title. Even including all “puzzles” and story elements, the game will only require about 2-2.5 hours of your time. For $24.99, that is a steep price for a short experience that does not beg for any replay.
Where the game really drops the ball is in the gameplay. This is a first-person “puzzler” where you need to collect the right items and insert them into the right places in order to activate the next sequence so you can do it all over again. Sprinkle in some narrative, and that is basically the game in a nutshell.
The problem with that, though, is that the gameplay is boring. The puzzles are rarely intuitive, and they depend too much on you either being an incredible Doctor Who fan or looking in every nook and cranny for obscure items that only do one thing (Seriously, why are switch bulbs scattered all around the woods?). There is a lot of walking and waiting, too, which makes the short game feel very slow, and it does not help that movement speed is incredibly slow in Doctor Who: Edge of Reality, including the run speed. Not only that, but in the Switch version, the slowdown in certain areas is unbearable, and once again just makes the game feel even slower.
The fact that the puzzles are subject to “finding the object” also hurts the gameplay, as there really is no actual challenge throughout. Puzzles just simply expect you to find a “clue”, which is basically an answer, and apply it immediately. The way the game uses notes and items is also unnecessary, because mass majority of the items you pick up do not carry over (They really don’t serve much of a purpose anyway, so why can I store them?).
The voice acting is another highlight, as Jodie Whittaker genuinely lends her Thirteenth Doctor’s voice, and she is a gem to listen to. Her contribution to the story is one of the main reasons why it is such a joy to follow, and even some of the other voice jobs from other actors throughout are spectacular, making this sound very much like a Doctor Who game.
Graphically is where things fall apart again, and on the Switch version, we are seeing some severe slowdown in areas with lots going on. Dark areas are so dark that it is near impossible to see what is going on, lone enough find the objects you need to find in order to move on. Not only that, but the granulated textures used throughout cause the game to look way more dated than it actually is (Originally a 2019 VR release). I am not sure how much was compromised for the Switch version, but there are a lot of moments in the game that just do not look good, which is a shame, as the world built within Doctor Who: Edge of Reality is an extravagant one.
This is unfortunately one of those movie/TV show tie-in games that ultimately just does not do justice to the original source material, and we see it time and time again with these types of tie-ins. With how big the Doctor Who franchise is wordwide, fans are clamoring for better use of their favorite Doctors, and although Doctor Who: Edge of Reality uses the Thirteenth Doctor masterfully, it does not provide the epic gaming experience it needs to be.
Doctor Who: Edge of Reality is a decent game overall, but this is clearly a product designed and destined for fans of the series who do not mind the handful of flaws. The story is absolutely the reason to pick this one up, as well as the stellar voice acting, but just about everything else in the game is mediocre at best.
So if you are a fan of Doctor Who, this is definitely something to keep your eye on, as the story and universe created for this game are something else. However, if you are just looking for a first-person puzzler to enjoy on a weekend, I absolutely cannot recommend Doctor Who: Edge of Reality, because it fails to be a great game in so many ways.
This is obviously made for the fans, and sadly, it will only be tolerated by the fans. So to the Doctor Who fans out there, enjoy Edge of Reality, if you can.
Doctor Who: Edge of Reality Review provided by Nintendo Link
Review also found on OpenCritic
Publisher: Maze Theory
Developer: Maze Theory
Release Date: November 25th, 2021
Price: $24.99, £19.99, €24,99
Game Size: 4.6 GB
Solid original Doctor Who story
Scary new monsters
Excellent voice acting
Puzzles are a drag
Title is incredibly short
Movement is unbearably slow
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My name is Jason Capp. I am a husband, father, son, and brother, and I am a gamer, a writer, and a wannabe pro wrestler. It is hard to erase the smile on this simple man.