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Datura: Short and Trippy
Plastic’s first ‘proper’ game; Datura, is a title that makes you pass through a forest of mysteries for you to unravel while submerged in a quite artistic atmosphere that many players will find compelling. More interactive than 2008’s Lost in Shadow Datura is a game that more than once makes you question whether the developers were under the influence of the renowned hallucinogenic properties of certain members of the datura family.
Controlled from a first person perspective with either a Dualshock or the now seemingly ubiquitous Move controller Datura tasks you with investigating the sometimes haunting forest landscape via the objects with which you can interact. Beyond your hands and arms you never see your character and apart from the odd grunt, and sometimes scream, you never hear him either.
The puzzles the items in the woods present to players are essentially the extent of the gameplay here. When you complete a puzzle you can help unlock new areas with the possibility of more complex choices where you must decide the outcome. As you make choices within the game the woodland changes to reflect your personality. Flowers spurt up if you are of an altruistic nature but on the other hand if you prove to be something of an narcissist expect withered trees and frankly sinister whispers.
Datura is aimed at the core gamer searching for something that’s out of the ordinary and in that sense it delivers, it is highly unlikely that you will have played something like this before. As an indie game developed by a small team it does an admirable job of both feeling fresh and delivering a purposefully vague plot which forces the player to focus on the game world itself.
Sadly however, Datura falls down in terms of what’s most important: gameplay. Regardless of the contol method you choose to play Datura with you’ll find that neither especially outperforms the other and both are inconsistent and unconvincing. While the reasoning behind the decision to give you the option in the first place seems pointless in light of the fact that you have to use SixAxis controls if you play with a Dualshock.
Overall navigation is more accessible with a pad but the Move controller allows for better control over your sometimes comedic flailing while on-screen prompts are often less than accurate or are simply obscure.
Lasting less than two hours Datura is a glimpse of something that could have been so much more. Even at the asking price of €7.99 (€6.39 for PS Plus members) the game is hard to recommend due to the awkward and sometimes frustrating gameplay. If you enjoy it Datura is worth a second play-through to see the different outcomes of your decisions but otherwise this game is simple a missed opportunity.