Alice VR, as the title rather bluntly suggests, is inspired by Lewis Carroll's classic Alice in Wonderland and designed for virtual reality. So far, so straightforward. However, Polish developers Carbon Studio have also got a pretty major twist up their sleeves: sci-fi. Anxious white rabbits and grinning cats are replaced by interstellar spaceships and robots, and the rabbit hole's more metaphorical than literal, but hopefully the scent of fantastical adventure will remain when the game is released later this year.
Playing (naturally) as Alice, you're peacefully cryosleeping your way to the next stop on your latest mission for the Interstellar Corporation when you're rudely awakened by your ship's AI. Low on graphene (a vital fuel component), there's no choice but to head down to the isolated desert planet Speculo to find more. There's even a settlement there, Mirabilis, but – stop me if you've heard this one before – it turns out to be mysteriously abandoned, filled with nothing but sun-bleached skeletons and some still-functioning droids. What happened, what can you do about it, and can you stay alive long enough to find that graphene?
Based on the screenshots and trailers released so far, the Unreal-powered 3D graphics look fabulous: the city of Mirabilis towers above the desert, equal parts technological wonder and shantytown. The game is intended to be a peaceful explorative-style experience, free of scares or time pressure. Over three hours or so of playtime, we're promised Wonderland-inspired puzzles (for example, requiring Alice to grow and shrink), variable gravity that lets her walk on walls, and multiple paths that impact Speculo's future. The developers also suggest that it'll take at least two runs through to tease out the whole story of what happened to Mirabilis.
Alice VR is scheduled to land this October, for Rift, Vive, OSVR and plain old Windows if you haven't made the leap to VR yet, as it can also be played on a regular monitor. If you want to know more, you can hop on over to the official website for complete details.