Available on: PlayStation VR
Developer: Crows Crows Crows/Squanch Games
Publisher: Roberts & Co Bunsen Outlet Limited
Released: Dec 19, 2017
If you tried to describe what happens in Accounting+, people will think you had a fever dream or an envious surplus of drugs. In the first 30 minutes of the game, I was yelled at by a man in a tree, stole his battery, held a porno, joined a gang, met the king of VR, played an overly enthusiastic zylophone of bones, summoned satan, and ate poop. This was only the initial half of my first playthrough, It took another 30 minutes to reach the game's conclusion. Even then I knew there was more since I had seen screenshots of other locations and character I had yet to experience.
Account+ is the distorted love child of Justin Roiland, best known as the creator of the popular TV show, Rick and Morty. Roiland's game development company, Squanch Games, partnered with Crows Crows Crows to create a VR experience extremely true to Roiland's brand of humor.
This may sound familiar already. This is because Accounting+ released over a year ago on October 18, 2016. The initial release was an HTC Vive exclusive, one that Steam users could play for free. Since then it would receive an overwhelmingly positive response from the community. Now they have returned with an expanded version exclusively on the PlayStation VR. This version was being marketed as the full Accounting experience, with double the content from its free predecessor. Accounting+ released on PSVR on December 19, 2017 for $11.99. The game is reportedly coming to HTC Vive as well, though on a delay "due to legal reasons." Sounds like Sony paid for a timed exclusive to me.
The game begins with a short tutorial zone. A soft-spoken voice named Clovis instructs you on the tutorial process before jumping into the official game. In Accounting+, the player jumps from scene to scene by placing pair after pair of VR goggles over their face, to eventually discover that the only way to go back to the previous "world" is to die. This was what I found to be the cleverest part of the game's design. It gave a logical (well as logical as one could call this nonsense) reason to why the player is jumping from one ridiculous scenario to the other. The death based backtracking allowed the game to show an equally silly progression to these worlds, each having changed drastically as a result of your actions prior. Not having to stay in any environment for too long allowed the humor to stay fresh and entertaining.
A new feature to the Plus edition is that it no longer became a linear story. Many levels included the potential for branching off into a side world. This allowed the player to be rewarded for their thoughtfulness with additional content.
The game was indeed about twice as large as the original Accounting. All of the "classic" scenes were not only kept in but improved upon for more enjoyable gameplay. The new scened added to the roster were just as unexpected and entertaining as the others. Though there was a moment I had felt cheated about the degree of content. One "side scene" has the player interact with an "Accounting+ fanatic," who offers you their VR goggles so you can play Accounting+ inside of Accounting+. The usually bumbling phone characters are replaced by the uncomfortably creepy fanatics enthusiasm towards the player. You essentially play the entire game again, with minimal change. I had initially thought this is what they meant when they said "double the content."
That was one of few qualms I had with the game. The game is by no means bad, but it wouldn't be a very good review if I didn't look at everything with a fair eye. Even with the doubled content, the game is rather short. A full playthrough (including the fanatic's extra run) took about an hour to go through. While the achievements indicated that I had not seen all there is to see, I certainly felt like I had gotten the full experience. The dialogue-heavy nature of the game leaves the player standing there and listening more than anything. This makes it comparable to a 40 minute "Best of Rick and Morty" compilation video on YouTube while standing the whole time, might I add. That isn't something I sure wouldn't have paid 12 dollars to see.
The VR interaction was enjoyable, although limited. Each scene could be "beaten" with doing one thing. The only moment where it becomes more gameplay than dialogue is during a shootout with the police, and even then it stretches out a bit longer than it needed to. Virtual reality was this games saving grace. Had this been a regular gameplay experience then it wouldn't have had the impact it needed to leave a lasting impression. Pressing E to eat poop is transformed from "ew gross" to "oh god please don't make me." The immersion of VR made the stories feel about me, not about my character.
The biggest issues that lie with the game are stylistic choices more than anything. The humor of Accounting+ is very on par with the "Justin Roiland Style," in that it's hectic, bizarre, and extremely mature. If you don't see the humor of a man in a tree constantly saying "Fuck you! this is my tree world" while 2 bumbling coworkers shout at you on the phone in confusion, or listening to the King of VR tell you about the days he takes "big, stinky shits," then the entire experience will likely come across as uncomfortable and annoying. This style of comedy isn't for everyone, but it's a refined masterpiece for those who do like it.
The only other issue I had was that I felt like I didn't need to be standing for so long and that I could have pulled up a chair. Though is that an oversight of the game for not telling me, or one of my own for not realizing I could have done that at any point.
As someone familiar with Justin Roiland's work, and the style he permeates, Accounting+ is a well-made creation, one that fits wonderfully in VR. While the content is small, the price is even smaller. Though knowing that half of this game can be played for free on HTC Vive diminishes the value to me. It feels recycled instead of expanded. The humor of the game, while funny, isn't for everyone. This is why I rate the game a seven out of ten.
Accounting+ can be found on the PlayStation Market, under the VR section for $11.99. The developers have expressed interest in bringing the game to Vive and Oculus, though nothing is confirmed.