Theseus

Theseus Review

Will you slay the Minotaur?

A.J. Maciejewski

Reviewed by playing a PlayStation 4 on

ESRB Teen rating

When you see a VR game based on Greek mythology, it's hard to know what to expect. Theseus is a third-person adventure game but is it grand enough to warrant a download?

Theseus screenshot 1
As if this place wasn't eerie enough...

Theseus tells a brief story where you must accomplish one task: kill the Minotaur that inhabits a strange labyrinth. Along the way, the spirit of Ariadne helps guide you to your destiny. I must say, out of all of the PlayStation VR games that I've played so far, this is by far the best looking. The ancient ruins that you explore are gorgeously detailed which makes the game world incredibly immersive. Not only that, the Minotaur itself is enormous and not what you would expect. This monstrosity lurks around the background and will even give you a few up-close surprises on occasion. Theseus looks like your average buff ancient Greek hero but he's quite small compared to the massive labyrinth that he finds himself in which makes traversing the ruins all the more impressive. The orchestral soundtrack and creepy audio effects help maintain an eerie atmosphere and it all comes together to form one memorable world.

Speaking of atmosphere, you'll find yourself on the edge of your seat throughout the entirety of Theseus' journey. The gameplay basically involves simple climbing and some rudimentary combat. As you traverse the labyrinth, you'll find yourself in some situations that'll make you want to take your headset off and collect yourself such as slowly pacing down a dark hallway with torch in hand so you can wave it around and scare giant spiders away. It's creepy stuff but Theseus refuses to rely on jump scares which is quite noble of its developers. Gradually scaling walls, fighting off the odd horde of giant spiders, and timing when to carefully advance so the Minotaur doesn't see you creates a relatively simple gameplay formula that allows you to focus on the immersive world.

Theseus screenshot 2
When you see creepy goop, light it on fire!

Unfortunately, Theseus isn't a long game at all as it can easily be completed within one sitting. That being said, there is some replay value via a couple of hidden collectibles. The first of which are corpses which Theseus seems to absorb energy from. These are found in hard-to-see locations so uncovering them all will require a lot of exploration. Next, you can light all of the braziers in the labyrinth by carrying a torch, lighting it at a fire source, then spreading the flame to certain wall features. Again, this will take a lot of searching to uncover them all. Finally, there may be a secret ending but as of writing this, no one has discovered it. Will you be the first?

Theseus is not only a short game; it's also extremely unvaried as the gameplay is far too basic to remain interesting. Obviously, the various scenarios that you'll find yourself in add some freshness to the campaign but the gameplay itself fails to deliver anything substantial or unique. On top of that, there are some genuinely frustrating aspects. The most significant of which is the camera. Whenever you transition to a new screen, the camera automatically shifts just like in an old Resident Evil game. Considering this is a VR game, having to look all around for your character will make anyone feel silly. Dealing with the Minotaur can also be problematic. Sometimes, Ariadne will tell you to rush and do something but then the Minotaur kills you. After you figure out that you have to tiptoe and not run, you'll be set but why the heck are you told to hurry? Parts like this are far less intuitive than they should be.

Theseus screenshot 3
Really? Well, that didn't take long...

Theseus is one of the most atmospherically immersive video games that I've ever played. Although you'll be on the edge of your seat throughout, you unfortunately won't be there for very long.

  • + Gorgeous visuals and sound
  • + Incredibly immersive atmosphere that will put you on edge from start to finish
  • + Collectibles may compel you to play it again
  • - Extremely short campaign
  • - Gameplay is very monotonous with almost no variety whatsoever
  • - A few truly frustrating moments
6.4 out of 10
Gameplay video for Theseus 5:37
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