Who doesn’t like to feel like a top-secret spy? I have regularly dreamt about jumping out of planes, riding trains and cleaning windows… I Expect You to Die places you in the shoes of a superspy who is the ‘third best’ at saving the world. As such, you are treated with appropriate contempt. Putting on the VR headset transports you into a new world, where crazy evil people get their jollies from setting the world on fire, poisoning everyone or hurting puppies (well I don’t think anyone, no matter how evil, could possibly hurt kittens). It is up to you to get in their way and get out of there. Naturally, you want to achieve this with the same vital signs coming out as you went in. They expect you to die… however, due to the traditional comedy of errors, which side ‘they’ are on is most certainly up for debate.
I Expect You to Die is a seated VR experience, which makes good use of motion controllers to encourage players to explore and resolve their current predicament. You could be on a train, underwater, in the air or in a car (or maybe more than one of those at a time). By digging through your high tech equipment, or lack thereof, you must work out ways to avoid a creative number of inevitable deaths. The puzzles that are thrown your way are a great balance of challenging and intuitive. There is a little bit of item finding, a bit of combining items and a lot of challenging environmental puzzle solving. Discovering the solution to a problem, while satisfying, is not always the best bit. I Expect You to Die manages to make executing those solutions equally enjoyable.
While it may not function as a room scale experience, a lot of work has gone into making the seated style work flawlessly. As someone who has had quite a few different VR games under their belt, I find that a decent seated experience is hard to create. While they may work in VR, sometimes they fail to provide an experience that is anything special compared to a regular pancake game. I Expect You to Die is one of the first seated games that feels like it has not only fully embraced VR, but done so in a way that compliments the seated experience extremely well.
The one problem many escape room games share, is that often they have limited replayability; I Expect You to Die works to solve this by throwing in the usual bunch of achievements and encouraging timed runs. This is an interesting approach as it shifts the puzzles from discovering the solutions, to executing the solution as effectively as possible. This has worked for similar puzzles (like the Rubik’s cube), which generate longevity through timed runs. For VR, this is a recipe for getting your arms muddled up, setting your hat on fire and inevitably stepping on a lobster. Good times!
I can happily recommend I Expect You to Die to anyone with a VR headset. I can also be quite confident when I say that this should be a game in every VR library. At its simplest, I Expect You to Die is a short-story based escape room game, with a reasonable number of levels. However, the polished development, high quality, humorous scripting and careful thought that has gone into crafting each level makes it truly shine.