Altdeus: Beyond Chronos is basically an interactive visual novel. The surface of the world of ALTDEUS has been ravaged by a mysterious alien race known as Meteora, and humanity has been forced to live deep underground. The only hope for humanity are a small but elite group of mecha pilots who serve as the first and last line of defense. The level of interaction in this game is quite limited and it makes you feel more like an observer than an active participant. The characters are more on the static side, and they change from pose to pose once in a while. They are also kind of spaced far away from you, just for the technical reason that if they were too close, you would not be able to see the entire character model. This does create a feeling of distance between yourself and the other characters and adds on to the feeling of being a passive observer. There is also a lot of empty space in the rooms, making the environment feel a bit on the empty side.
Most of the interactions stem from interacting with objects and people in the environment. It brings up a quick scan showing a description of that item or person. Then you may see a short scene play out. Sometimes, you may get to control the giant mechs called Makhias, but that is quite limited in nature as well.
The feeling of limited interaction aside, the game is basically an interactive visual novel at heart. The writing, dialogue, art style, and music feel very much like a sci-fi anime and it is generally well done. It even has an anime opening after the intro sequence. So if anime is not your thing, you may not enjoy the presentation of the game, whereas if you do enjoy anime, this game may be up your alley.
As for the writing, I felt that the writing was pretty solid, although very cheesy and a little bit cringey at times. The game has a lot of lore behind the world and it does a great job of explaining things. It delves into some interesting concepts as well. For example, each person in the world of ALTDEUS has something called a Libra. This Libra is a support system that externalizes internal feelings and desires into words. For gameplay implications it simply means you pick one of multiple responses when speaking to people but for the story, it’s main purpose is to show how messed up our own desires are and to encourage people to exercise some self control and reflection. After implementing the Libra system, crime went down in the world of ALTDEUS and one character even mentions what social media used to be like before Libras existed (like the cesspool that is twitter). It brings up the age old question of is total freedom better even if it means messed up things happen once in a while or should people be controlled. The game does delve into some deeper questions like this but it felt a little bit on the shallow side and never fully fleshed out.
The pacing is a bit slow at the start but it does let you get to know both the world and characters of ALTDEUS and you can’t help but get a little attached to them. You do feel more involved in the story and that is one of the strengths of ALTDEUS. The limited interactions may throw some people off so I would recommend to people wanting to check it out that they go in knowing that it is more like a visual novel than a game.
For the voice acting, I found the English to be a little subpar and the performances a bit flat, while the Japanese voice acting definitely nailed the feeling of an anime. It falls to personal preference and thankfully the game will let you choose one or the other.
ALTDEUS: Beyond Chronos was developed and published by MyDearest Inc. It was released onto Steam on February 18, 2021 and it is also available on the Oculus store. The current MSRP as of this video is $29.99. For compatible headsets, the Valve Index, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift (as well as the Quest via the link cable or virtual desktop), and Windows Mixed Reality are listed as being compatible.
As for space required, you can indeed play this game sitting down and you do not require much space. You are mostly pointing at objects and at times it does require you to reach out in front and bend over a little bit to pick up objects. The game makes you feel ridiculously tall for some reason. You may want to have a little space between you and your desk if you are playing in an office or gaming environment. I hit my controller from time to time often enough that I had to back my chair a little bit.
As for motion sickness, the game is pretty static and it does fade to black for transitions so I felt that the potential for any possible motion sickness is very limited.
If you go in knowing that this game is a visual novel, you may end up enjoying it. I lost track of time while playing because I wanted to explore and see more of the world and its inhabitants. I also wanted to see how the story would play out. That said, because it is more of a visual novel, the limited interactions does make one think that having this game be in VR is a little unnecessary. Personally speaking, I did get attached to the world and characters the more time I spent with it, so the game definitely may interest some people out there, especially those who are looking for an interactive visual novel experience.