When I bought my copy of Prey at Target, it came with a strange promotion: A free copy of the movie Passengers. I questioned what the two even have to do with each other to make this happen, but I took my free movie because I’ll never pass up on anything that stars Chris Pratt. A week later and Passengers: Awakening, a short VR experience based on the film, is released on the PlayStation 4. I realized at that moment that the movie was just preparing me for my destiny of buying and playing this VR experience.
At the start of the game, you’ll wake up on the Avalon, a colony ship heading to Homestead II to start a new life there. You learn that you were awoken by Jim, an engineer who needs your help repairing part of the ship as you’re the only other engineer with access to a multitool. You set off to go grab a keycard from an android, fix some doors along the way, and assist Jim in fixing the ship. There’s no real depth to the story, outside of learning the exact same things you’d learn had you watched Passengers instead of playing the game. You just grab the tools, hand them off to Jim, and win the game.
To get to Jim you’ll have to go through a few different rooms. Most of these rooms have a small puzzle in it, and all puzzles are solved by using your multitool. The tool can switch between four uses: a device to pick up and move objects, a screwdriver to rotate them, a torch to burn or weld things, and a pointer to select things from a menu. While that may sound like you’ll need to experiment to figure out the right tool for the job, in reality, each puzzle only needs a single tool. As soon as you walk up to the puzzle you’ll automatically switch to the correct tool. Accidentally switch to a different tool? Don’t worry as each puzzle is also surrounded with signs showing you the correct tool to use. It’s like Passengers: Awakening didn’t trust me to solve its super simple puzzles.
Yes, the puzzles are indeed hilariously simple. This is things like “pull a burnt out data card from the wall and replace it with the one next to it.” You’ll have to use the torch to trace a burnt out circuit board, or use the screwdriver to turn some screws. It’s all super easy, barely requiring any effort on your part to solve. The puzzles feel less like a challenge and more like someone decided they needed to have some quick gameplay so they could add “puzzles” to a checkbox somewhere.
It’s clear that the purpose of Passengers: Awakening is to explore the Avalon and interact with a few characters from the movie. It’s about 50/50 here in how well that works out. On one hand, exploring Avalon isn’t really much fun. The game just has you walk in a straight line as you just keep opening doors that lead to some of the bigger locations in the movie. Sure you can see the bar that Arthur runs, but you can’t really do anything in it. On the other hand, it is nice to see Michael Sheen, Nazanin Boniadi, and the ever so lovely Chris Pratt reprise their roles from the movie. It does add a bit more to the presentation, even when the rest of the design doesn’t really work.
Lasting for a grand total of twenty minutes, it was hard to shake the feeling that Passengers: Awakening was basically just one long paid preview for the movie. Even if you’re a super fan of Passengers, and love every VR experience you’ve ever played, I’m still finding it hard to actually suggest paying for this. Not even Chris Pratt’s handsome digital representation can save this game.
Passengers: Awakening is an ultimately pointless game that feels more like a 20 minute ad for the movie. The puzzles are too easy, while the idea of getting to explore the Avalon doesn't pan out. The only good thing here is the appearance of some of the movie's actors.
- Chris Pratt is Here
- Puzzles are Too Easy
- Extremely Short
- Nothing to Explore
- Barely Anything to Do