It’s like if you took Animal Crossing and mixed it with Harvest moon, except you’re farming with goblins to brew better beer.
My first roomscale VR experience was back at IFA 2015, when I stepped into the HTC Vive booth and had my mind fully blown by Wevr’s TheBlu. Shortly after, I got my own HTC Vive in 2016 and tried the next Wevr experience, Gnomes & Goblins, which was created by none other than Jon Favreau. This short preview had me salivating for more. I wanted to know about these adorable Goblins, how they built their amazingly intricate treehouses, what they did in the forest, and why in the world the Gnomes liked to torture them so.
Fast-forward over four years later and we’ve finally got the full experience. Gnomes & Goblins’s Executive Producer, Neville Spiteri, described the original demo as “just a tasting spoon of ice cream” in regards to its size and scope, while this release is “a full pint of ice-cream.” The problem is that I wanted at least an entire gallon. Maybe a bucketload, and for $30 I think many players might just feel the same way.
There’s no shortage of charm or atmosphere in Gnomes & Goblins, and it provides a world that elated me in ways most VR experiences simply don’t anymore, but the current experience is simply too shallow for the price. That’s not to say there is nothing to do. Quite the opposite, actually, contrary to what the 40-minute long story mode might suggest. I spent 5 hours in the game befriending goblins, growing crops, expanding my farm, and ultimately, crafting brews with the fruits of my labor. Is this a game for you? Time to find out.