I had the pleasure of checking out Fujii a bit early. Right off the bat, I can say it’s probably the most pleasant, immersive and straight up enjoyable exploration/relaxation experience I’ve tried in VR.
Fujii was brought to reality by Funktronic Labs, who happens to be one of our favorite VR developers. Shurl was addicted to their VR debut title Cosmic Trip for about a year, while I like to play Starbear: Taxi during my “chill-out sessions.” Also, their flat game is currently in closed beta, Wavebreak (think THPS meets Waverace but with a li’l bear driving). So after hearing about Fujii stealing the show at E3, we were already pretty excited to check it out.
Once you dive in, everything feels well-made and solid, with a cartoonish “wobbly” feel to it. For the first minute or two, I stood, just shaking my hands giggling as my jelly-like hands slightly wobbled this way and that. It’s not overdone – there’s a very subtle liquid feeling to everything in Fujii – almost as if the entire experience takes place under water.
The goal in Fujii is to grow your own alien garden. As you explore three magical otherworldly biomes with your little helper, you stumble across interesting elements that stand out, clearly begging to be interacted with. You’ll note, text notices or even menus are almost completely absent in Fujii, except for maybe 3 labels. Funktronic has put a ton of work to make the experience seamless, doing their best to keep you immersed in the lush, verdant world of Fujii.
It’s these interesting elements that, when successfully interacted with, will earn you either a seed or a small ball of light. The light balls are used as currency in a sense. You can trade them for additional seeds or even additional planters for your garden. So, by exploring, you can gather seeds, and also trade for seeds by using the light balls.
Some of the most fun comes from creative problem solving. For example, if I see a floating orb of water, I’m thinking, “I should probably fill up a bottle to spray the water… or wait! My arm slurps up the water and holds it like a bladder and then lets me finger-gun droplets out of my pointer finger?!?” What a refreshing touch on VR interactions.
Audio is handled brilliantly and truly helps to make this world shine and stand out from the crowd. In fact, the audio was a key factor in the handful of “oooh” moments I had during my first exploration.
It’s the combination of all the above, along with a light, thoughtful narrative that makes Fujii work so wonderfully as a relaxation/exploration game. Funktronic Labs’ creativity drives it home as one of my favorites in the genre so far.
Once you’ve fully explored every inch of Fujii, you can check back regularly to maintain your garden and just chillax. Indulge in the alien greenery… I know I did!
Fujii is available on Steam at a regular price of $14.99 for the HTC Vive and Valve Index. You can also get it at the Oculus store as a cross-buy for Rift & Quest, which is always nice to see.