Review – Layers of Fear VR (PSVR)

Remember when I said, literally two reviews ago, that virtual reality can turn even the more mundane of experiences into something more enjoyable than it should be? Remember what I said that about Star Wars Pinball VR being actually good because of that? Well, I guess I was wrong. For the most part, sure, VR can make silly things more enjoyable and immersive than before. However, this rule doesn’t apply when you’re trying to translate a boring horror-themed walking simulator into this brand new realm of gaming. Case and point, Layers of Fear VR. Better than the original? Sure thing. Does that make it a good game? Absolutely not.

Layers of Fear VR Get It Right This Time

“Get It Right This Time”. That was what I wanted to tell the devs before starting Layers of Fear VR.

When I first checked out Layers of Fear, I made the mistake of starting off by playing the Switch version. This meant I was playing a version with significantly inferior visuals and some audio glitches. I thought to myself that maybe there was hope for the base game, that if played on a beefier console it would actually be quite good. This wasn’t the case. I tried it out on the PS4, and while it looked remarkably better in terms of visuals, it still ended up being a boring walking simulator with a predictable plot, bland corridor-esque level design, and cheap jumpscares.

Layers of Fear VR is exactly the same game as before, just with a new perspective and control scheme. The same plot progression, the same puzzles, the same excruciatingly irritating jumpscares. Everything you love (or didn’t) about the original Layers of Fear is back, but with a few tweaks that do make the game slightly more immersive, but in no way scarier. Some of its main issues are derived from the fact this is being played on the PSVR, a VR system that just cannot handle fancy graphics and free roaming controls very well. But most of its issues just stem from the fact that at the end of the day, Layers of Fear just isn’t very good.

Layers of Fear VR Statue


I will give Bloober Team kudos for one thing: trying very hard to make this game work under so many limitations. The Move controllers do not have analog sticks, which is why most PSVR games feature a “teleportation” mechanism (you aim at a place and you’re transported there). But Layers of Fear VR actually features a free roaming movement system which uses one of the main Move buttons from one the sticks, as well as most of the face buttons in order to strafe and move the camera around. It is not very easy to get used to and it’s stupidly cumbersome, but hey, it is immersive. It feels more natural than teleporting your body around. And given how slowly your character moves through the mansion’s corridors, you won’t feel motion sickness at all.

The limited horsepower also took a toll on the game’s visuals. It’s brighter and more detailed than the Switch version, but uglier than any other version released thus far, Oculus Rift included. Your field of view is quite limited, meaning that larger rooms feature Nintendo 64-esque fog and the textural quality leaves a lot to be desired. There is one catch though: the game does run at 60fps most of the time. It’s a small victory, but at this point, I’ll take what I can get.

Layers of Fear VR Wine

That’s not blood, that’s just wine. Laaaaaaaaame.

Sadly, with regards to the gameplay, Layers of Fear VR just doesn’t hold up. It’s still just a simple walking simulator featuring an annoying gimmick of doors taking you to new areas of the mansion to simulate the fact you’re a total lunatic of a protagonist. It’s predictable, boring, and it’s usually accompanied by loud jumpscares that are just plain annoying.

For the record, while I do find this plot severely uninteresting, I also have to clarify that this is an “old” Bloober Team game. This was before they started getting their act together with Observer, their best title and arguably one of the most interesting “walking simulators” out there. Not to mention The Medium, which might be trying way too hard to be Silent Hill, but damn if it isn’t interesting and captivating. And I’ll keep on pretending the Blair Witch game has never existed.


You can now interact with this merry-go-round with your own hands… and that’s basically how immersive this game gets…

There are also some annoying glitches in here, which ruin the game’s overall sense of immersion. Whenever you press the crouch button twice, you don’t revert back to your original standing height. Instead, you basically become an eight foot tall giant, occasionally clipping through the ceiling. This was irritating at first, as I did not know how to fix it, until I decided to hold down the Options button for a few seconds to recenter my field of view, which ended up resulting in me reverting back to my original, more human height.


If anything, this painting of a zombified dog would be great as a cover for a death metal album.

Virtual reality turns mundane chores into an experience more entertaining than it should be. The same can be partially applied to Layers of Fear VR, but not in a way the devs intended. I had sporadic amounts of fun with the game, but it wasn’t due to its simplistic puzzle solving or inane plot. Nope, I was having occasional bouts of joy by messing with its wonky physics, throwing things around and interacting with tons of objects for no apparent reason. I had to scavenge for a bit of fun in this game, and while I certainly had in very small dosages, it was only because I have the mental age of five when I immerse myself in a VR game. This technology is still way too novel for me not to feel amazed by it, even when playing one of its more disappointing outings.


Oh. Great. Dolls. I’ve never seen those being used in horror media before.

I can safely say that, if I had to tell you which version of Layers of Fear is my favorite, then Layers of Fear VR takes the cake. Not because it makes its pseudo-horror experience more immersive, but because I could occasionally forget about its mundane plot and dumb jumpscares and fool around with its silly physics and glitches in VR. It does look occasionally nice and the developers did try their best in order to implement a free-roaming control scheme on the Move controllers, but the core game is just too boring at the end of the day.

Graphics: 6.5

The PSVR’s limited horsepower takes a toll on the field of view and textural quality, and there are a few framerate issues every now and then. With that being said, it’s still interesting to look at.

Gameplay: 6.0

I applaud Bloober Team for coming up with a free-roaming control scheme, but the Move’s lack of analog sticks make things a lot more cumbersome than they should be.

Sound: 4.0

A bit better than the Switch version, but the jumpscares and glitches still ruin the immersion.

Fun Factor: 4.5

It’s slightly more entertaining than the base version because you can occasionally fool around with your floating hands, but it’s still a boring attempt at a psychological horror game with a predictable story and some immersion-breaking glitches.

Final Verdict: 5.5

Layers of Fear VR is available now on PSVR, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, and Oculus Quest.

Reviewed on PSVR.

A copy of Layers of Fear VR was provided by the publisher.