Esper – from North East-based studio Coatsink – is already on the Gear VR store, though limited availability and a generally low key launch for the hardware mean you almost certainly don't know very much about it. Let me fill you in.
The year is 1975. For some reason, members of the public have started to develop extra-sensory abilities, and so the government is rounding them up and subjecting them to various tests. You play as one of these gifted individuals.
Watch the trailer right now if you haven't already. Here it is.
Great, so I don't need explain about the slick cartoony visuals, or the professional (and really quite funny) dialogue and voice-acting, or the way the narrator responds to your actions in real-time. Phew.
I spent about ten minutes playing Esper. After the introductory sequence shown in the trailer, where I learned to look around and pick up objects by tapping on the touchpad on the right of the Gear VR headset, the partition walls were folded away and I found myself in a much larger room.
Here I learned how to move objects away from me by swiping forwards on the pad, towards me by sliding back, and how to throw objects by swiping up.
A glass tube appeared and I guided a ball into it and through it by moving my head and stroking the touchpad.
Then a glass ball appeared and I discovered I couldn't move that within the tube. I also learned that I couldn't move the solid ball if I couldn't see it, meaning I needed to find a way to work around covered sections of the tube.
This meant plotting a path through the tubes and using solid balls to push glass balls around. Every time I solved a puzzle my captors rearranged the room, GlaDOS-like, in a sudden flurry of folding metal arms.
Look but don't touch
After ten minutes I hit a tricky puzzle and gave up, though you shouldn't take this to mean that Esper is too hard. I'm just not very good at puzzle games. Coatsink claims there are two to three hours of gameplay in Esper for a normal player.
So it is any good? Yes, it is. The presentation is excellent and the puzzles – or the ones I saw – are well designed. The only possible sticking point is the controls.
Looking around to transport objects works perfectly given the telekinetic premise, and tapping on the side of your head is a good way of selecting objects to pick up.
However, when you're trying to guide a ball around a 3D system of tubes it can be fiddly to control the 2D movement of the ball with your head and the 3D movement with your fingers – particularly as the physics engine seems to let you use your head to move the ball backwards and forwards in certain conditions, such as when there's a curve in the tube.
After ten minutes, the controls feel a bit muddy and frustrating, though they may become second nature after a while.
If you're lucky enough to be in a position to try it out, Esper is available on the Gear VR store now for $4.99. A version is also planned for Oculus.