Viveport Review: Magic Lantern VR
Relax in this smartly-designed virtual playroom, with fun for the whole family.
By Desmond Madison, Greenlit Content
In the age of the VR content boom of the last three years, it’s safe to say that there’s been an underserved amount of experiences intended for younger audiences. Some hardware manufacturers tend to limit use to ages 12 or 13 and up, but Vive has recommended a sweet spot of about seven years old with limited use. What that means is that content built for children and families is still hard to come by, but thankfully the talented team at Parovoz Animation Studio delivered an enchanting and delightful living playroom experience with Magic Lantern VR that feels suitable for a younger audience. It’s pure, fun, and imaginative without being overly intense.
Players will find themselves alongside the young and intrepid Kate, with her Magic Lantern film projector seated in the middle of the playroom floor. Choosing from stories like Alice in Wonderland, The War of the Worlds, and Little Mowgli allows you to sit and watch a universally simplified children’s story book film reel of classic tales that teach important life lessons about being nice to one another, the importance of empathy, and always doing what’s right.
Beyond sitting on the floor with Kate and being whisked away into story land, Magic Lantern VR allows you to explore the entire playroom as your virtual sandbox to move toys, dolls, and playful objects around the room in any way you choose. There are also games to play like darts, balls, and even stuffed animals and race cars that can all be enjoyed to the fullest extent of one’s imagination, much like an actual childhood playroom would be in real life. There’s a drawing stand that lets children get creative on paper, and a motorized toy cat that can’t resist following your laser pointer anywhere in the room. There’s even a physics modification option that lets you turn off gravity and experience what it would be like if your playroom were launched into orbit!
While it’s not a robust online interactive playroom full of tons of activities like Rec Room, this is more of a single player safe space for younger players to enjoy some of the basics in a calm, warm, and friendly environment.
The art direction is soft and playful, almost like spending time in a Pixar movie with a virtual companion there to keep you company. This arguably offers a better alternative than putting younger players in an online experience where living communities of older players can sometimes be unpredictable.
If there ever were a case for top quality children’s entertainment truly shining in virtual reality that inspires fun and imagination for younger audiences to learn what the medium can offer them, Magic Lantern VR takes the lead. It’s an innocent and universally appealing entry into a growing genre of content built to entrain and enlighten players on the powers of immersive entertainment from an early age. If you have children ages seven and up, Magic Lantern VR is a solid recommendation for a first VR experience that will inspire smiles on kids and parents alike.