After what seemed like endless months of anticipation, it’s fair to say that Rhythm Of The Universe: Ionia fell a little flat.
The VR debut from ROTU Entertainment offered a gorgeous world and intriguing musical gameplay, but fell far short at about 40 minutes in length. But ROTU CEO Jason Parks and the team are taking the lessons of the first game on board for their next entry in the universe, Eolia, which is due to arrive on Quest 2 this summer. Watch the full announcement trailer below.
Eolia isn’t a direct continuation of Ionia’s story, instead set on a different world with a different musical emphasis. This time around you’ll be immersed in desert ruins, where the effects of climate change are bringing about droughts.
But there are several key updates for this sequel that fans of ROTU will want to be aware of. For starters, Parks notes that this will be a longer game with more gameplay variety. In a demo, I see his character ride a mount across the desert whilst also revisiting familiar musical challenges delivered in different ways to the first game.
Perhaps more interesting, though, is that Eolia features full support for hand-tracking input, including smooth locomotion navigation. The game does support controllers, too, but I was really interested to see the movement, which lets you pinch and then essentially use your hand as a joystick to move back and forth, whereas elements from the past game like climbing return too.
Hand-tracking also allows for more precise music mechanics; I see Parks pluck strings in sequence, for example, and the trailer also shows a flute with your fingers covering holes just like in real life.
I was doubtful that we’d see much from ROTU following Ionia’s debut, then, but Eolia has certainly piqued my interest once more. If ROTU can deliver a more varied, deeper adventure that makes great use of VR hand-tracking then this could be a much more significant entry into a very intriguing universe. We’ll see more from the game when it releases this summer on Quest 2.