Review – Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

Video game sequels to movie franchises are not a new idea. Games continuing the universes of The Thing, Ghostbusters, Chronicles of Riddick, Aliens, etc. have been around for some time now. They go as far back as Blade Runner in 1997 and as recent as 2014’s Alien Isolation. Although Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son, a game developed by Rime‘s Tequila Works and Chained: A Victorian Nightmare‘s MWM Interactive, doesn’t come close to being the best of the bunch, it isn’t the worst, either. Being exclusive to PSVR, however, does makes it the most unique of all of them.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

#GlassHalf-Philed

Returning to Punxsutawney, you are introduced to Phil Conners Jr. He is both the protagonist and the son of Phil Conners from the Bill Murray 1993 cult hit movie, Groundhog Day. You begrudgingly return to your estranged family and hometown to record a video blog of their Groundhog Day festival in hopes of turning it into a promising job. Through Social Media load screens and dialog between you and your family, you comes to find out Phil Jr. has had nothing to do with his family for years, holds a lot of resentment towards his late father, and is honestly just an all-around ass to any and every one.

During your “one night” stay in Punxsutawney, the game opens to you waking up at 6:00am to get ready for the Groundhog Day celebration. You get a quick tour of your childhood bedroom as you learn the games basic mechanics. You also get a good glimpse of the type of charisma and humor the game will be offering before heading downstairs to be introduced to your dysfunctional family and the obstacles you will need to overcome. It is this Groundhog Day that you repeat, over and over, until you learn the lessons that the universe is trying to teach you.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

Deja Vu.

An angry teen niece, an ex-girlfriend that wants nothing to do with you, a fireworks mishap at the groundhog festivities, or just trying to get a good cappuccino, Groundhog Day: like Father Like Son offers plenty of challenges to figure out and overcome without ever feeling overly repetitive. On the other side of the coin, it also never feels truly difficult. It feels almost as if the solution will simply be there if you play the day or scene enough times. The game will eventually walk you to the solution.

The games mechanics are fairly basic. You move by teleporting to areas that allow you to perform actions. Some locations, there may only be two or three available areas that you can move to for a given scene. The game is mostly run through dialog choices and solving VR puzzles. The combination of the two result in learning about the people in the game and giving you access to new dialog choices and new VR puzzles to complete until you resolve the major issue with that scene or character. Once you do, skipping past the already learned event is welcome as to not be forced to repeat motions I have already figured out. Replaying a scene, rather than an entire day, is also a nice mechanic to help combat that same repetition.

The biggest drawback that the game couldn’t get the action of quite right was the use of speech bubbles to choose your dialog path. Some choices are timed and grabbing the right bubble was sometime problematic, especially if it was the middle of three choices. I would constantly grab a path I was not intending to.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

If it’s Ned’s idea then he’s probably using it to sell me life insurance.

Fans of the movie will find lots of characters and references that will be nostalgic for them. The one thing I would warn is that Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son seems way more R than I would have expected for a follow-up. Cussing is fairly common with more than a couple “Go **** yourself, Phil” thrown in. I feel this needs to be mentioned due to the family friendly route the movie went and movie-goers may be expecting.

Tequila Works writing is clever and charismatic, if not a little mature. The characters are both new and old, but also have depth and there is a true heart thrown in with the yucks. Flashbacks of you with your dad accomplish grounding the game in a more serious tone which works well to show the rift between father and son.

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son

Just when you’d thought you had finally escaped him…

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is an enjoyable sequel to a fantastic movie. In some ways, it fits the tone the movie intended, and in others, it does not. The controls are as simple as they need to be but in the end, are still simple. If you aren’t expecting a challenging game, but instead are expecting a light funny return to Punxsutawney, then you’ll be happy to know that like father, like son.

 

Graphics: 7.5

A cute comic-sans style adds to the cute simplicity of the controls and characters.

Gameplay: 7.0

In the end, Like Father Like Son is a VR puzzler disquised as a adventure game. The game will eventually walk you to the end.

Sound: 7.0

A decent enough voice cast is able to make the characters what they need to be, whether it be concerned,  dissappointed, or just a jerk.

Fun Factor: 8.0

Returning to Punxsutawney is enjoyable and fun, meeting new characters and revisiting old ones with enough mechanics to not make it repetitive.

Final Verdict: 7.5

Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son is available now on PSVR.

Reviewed on PSVR.

A copy of Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son was provided by the publisher.

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