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Studio Ghibli-inspired ‘Tethered’ is coming to PlayStation VR

PlayStation VR is launching with several action-heavy games, including a new Star Wars Battlefront spinoff and RIGS Mechanized Combat League, but if you’re more interested in entering a pleasant virtual world, Tethered just might be the answer.

Developed by Secret Sorcery, a studio founded by former Evolution and Rage staffers, Tethered is described by the team as “the best parts of a sandbox experience you might expect from a great strategy game” combined with “gentle puzzle mechanics.”

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As a “Spirit Guardian” who must protect a group of islands from harm, you lead a team of “Peeps,” small humanoid creatures who gather resources and create their settlement during the daytime to prepare for against “waves of ravenous scavengers” at night. Sadly, it doesn’t look like you can blow them up in the microwave.

Secret Sorcery intends for the game to be “pick up and play”-ready, and its VR integration seems fairly mild. Moving your head controls a reticle, which you can use to order your Peeps to specific locations, “tethering” them to a goal. Average play sessions will last around half an hour.

Though it uses a 3D art style, creative director Alan McDermott says that the team was influenced by Hayao Miyazaki and Studio Ghibli when it created a “lovingly hand-painted aesthetic” and “unique character design.” The game’s concept art bears a striking similarity, particularly in its color scheme, to last year’s Ori and the Blind Forest, which also drew influence from Miyazaki’s work. We’re not complaining — more of this surreal, mellow visual design is always welcome.

“Without your guidance your Peeps will surely perish and without them you cannot rid your lands of evil. Your fates are Tethered,” the official announcement reads.

Tethered launches alongside the PlayStation VR in October.