Connect the dots in this relaxing VR puzzle game available now on Oculus Quest headsets via the App Lab.
Entrance yourself in a zen-like flow as you connect the dots to create massive whales, ducks, and other 3D designs in Skybinder, a meditative VR experience available now on Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 headsets.
The core gameplay mechanics are relatively simple thanks to the developer’s minimalist approach. Each puzzle is filled with dots that contain a number. That number corresponds with how many times a line must connect with that specific dot. As you connect lines to dots, the number will decrease. Your goal is to create a series of triangles that make up the shape of the final object. Sounds easy enough. However, there is a twist! Once a dot has been zeroed out, you can’t connect a line to it, which means you may have to delete a line entirely in order to complete the puzzle.
You can play the game standing or sitting and you use your controllers to enlarge or shrink your playing field. Simply hold both triggers on your controller and pull your arms apart to make the field larger, or bring them together to make it smaller. It’s pretty much the same navigation mechanics of Tilt Brush.
Skybinder was created by Wyatt Roy and Luis Zanforlin. The two met in 2018 while taking a VR class at MIT, which was strange because neither of them went to MIT! Zanforlin was at Berklee School of Music (which partnered with MIT for the class), while Roy’s partner was getting her MA at MIT, and a very friendly professor let Roy join the class.
Roy told Zanforlin about an experimental art experience he was making called Painting Life, where he used photogrammetry to scan an artist’s life, paintings, and spaces into VR. Zanforlin offered some ideas on how to spatialize the music use it to enhance the story.
From there the two started a studio called Maku XR where they launched Painting Life, along with other VR experiences like Tonos, and an interesting app that helps you say sorry, appropriately entitled Sorry.
The idea for Skybinder was inspired by something “bizarre” as explained by Roy during an interview with VRScout. “Luis was building a VR quantum calculator for MIT. When he designed the UX, he noticed something really pleasing about connecting “nodes” in space. A few months later he decided to see if that dot-connecting feeling could be turned into a game,” Roy continues, “I came in and added a layer of metaphor and art to it where you, the player, are an abstract celestial being building things to be sent down to the world.”
“I designed dozens and dozens of low-poly models of houses and mice, elephants and cars, all in VR using Google Blocks. I started each model from a single cube, pushing and pulling vertices, splitting faces until they turned into these designs. Then Luis built an algorithm to split an OBJ into a vertex-based puzzle, and Skybinder was born.”
To add some whimsy to their game, Zanforlin took on the duty of writing all of the music himself (after all, he attended Berklee School of Music) to help keep you focused on solving each puzzle. “He’s a classically trained symphony composer and self-taught VR developer,” said Roy.
At the moment, Skybinder is a single-player game with 20 puzzles that get progressively more difficult as you work your way through them, but the developers are exploring possible ways to update the game. Everything from multiplayer, a creator mode where you can design and possibly share your own puzzles, and even time/point-based competition for players are currently under consideration.
Skybinder is available on the Oculus Quest and Oculus Quest 2 via the Oculus App Lab for $14.99.
Feature Image Credit: Maku XR