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Tethered PlayStation 4 Review

Ok my first caveat: TURN OFF MOTION CONTROLS. If you play Tethered with Motion controls enabled, you’re going to have a bad time, a very bad time. I get why they did it, to emulate the PSVR experience, and it’s a cute experiment, but holy crap, within 2 minutes, you feel infuriated at the inaccuracy, the wobbling, the constant realignment. It becomes a nightmare.

So, let’s turn those motion controls off and…

Let’s begin our review. Because quite frankly, Tethered deserves to be reviewed without them.

I remember the days of playing games such as Populous on the PC, I’d play them, wondering what the hell I was doing (I’ll admit right here, I procured such games by less than honest means as a child). I had no manuals, I had no way to learn other than fumbling my way through the game. However, as I played I realised something… I loved this sort of game. I loved being a god and I loved giving orders to my little subjects, to dominate them and to determine their fates. As time went by, I played many other games, Powermonger, Command and Conquer, stemming into the RTS field, where I expanded my knowledge and skill. But sometimes, sometimes it pays to go back to the basics and Tethered does just that, feeling fresh, cute and fun. Tethered is the perfect way to wind down after all those harsh, full on games you’ve been playing, because Tethered is goddamn fun.

Gameplay:

You are god. Ok, calm down, only in the game. Your job, dear deity almighty, is to look after the ‘Peeps’ as they’re known, help them cultivate the land around them, help them flourish, fight the little beasties that appear. Teach them to mine, to log forests, to farm and to become the heroes they deserve to be! They’ll either live long enough to be a hero, or become food for the villains at night! You’ll take on the role of the almighty deity who tells the ‘Peeps’, through ‘tethering’ them to objects, what to do. Want to tell a Peep to harvest? Click the Peep, click the wheat to tether him to it. Done. It’s all about the tether. Tethertastic! It’s quite simple and to be honest, refreshing after playing so many games where the controls get ridiculously complex. It can get complicated when you get a couple dozen Peeps running around, but it’s never, ever unmanageable. All up, the gameplay is fun, easy for all age ranges and will keep you engaged all the way through. 

Controls:

I know many will say “Deduct points because motion controls suck!” and yes, the motion controls are bad. So, turn them off. Once you skip past that factor, you get into Tethered, and you realise that it’s got a very simple point and click interface, two to three buttons, one control stick and a set of fixed viewpoints to view you’re playing field from. The right stick can slightly change your viewing angle, but that’s about it. To be honest? It’s great. The viewing angles rarely get clogged, they’re well positioned and everything moves at a decent pace.

The cursor, as you move it around, snaps well enough and smartly enough to what you need it to, and everything is beautifully responsive. Moving the cursor around becomes easy, clicking the creatures you can order around is simple thanks to an ‘auto-aim’ like feature and there’s an intuitive sense to everything you need to do. Need to make crops grow? Click the storm cloud, then click the crops. Need to make the forest grow for more wood? Click the sun then click the forest. It’s all quite decently put together. All up, the standard controls for Tethered are quite effective, unless you’re using the ‘Fake-VR’ motion controls, which are awful.

Graphics:

Cute, adorable and almost saccharine in their approach. Waterfalls roll off of cliffs into the grand nothing below them, the clouds sparkle in the sky next to the sun, the butterflies that flutter across the land do so in a peaceful harmonious way that invites you into this new, beautiful world. Tethered is a simple, yet beautiful world that invites you in, lets you play around with the ‘Peeps’, then beats the living snot out of you at night with the beasties that attack. These graphics wouldn’t be out of place in a new Skylanders game to be frank. Tethered doesn’t rely on gore, it relies on a cartoon like approach, delivering you an adorable, cartoonish world for you to populate with your little minions, the stylised look works in its favour giving it an identity all its own. This isn’t a game that’s going to test the mettle of your PS4, but it is a game that’s going to visually please you. The game seems to run at a pleasant framerate too, I could be mistaken but it seems to run around 60 frames as well? If it’s not 60, then it’s an incredibly smooth 30.

Sound:

Cute music, cute sounds, atmospheric sounds, it’s got it all. Tethered won’t be stressing your amazing surround sound system but it’s got enough that you won’t be turning your sound system off in frustration like some recent sniping game had me doing. This is a game where everything comes together in a great little package.

Value:

You may have figured I like Tethered, I do. It’s a fun, lightweight game that allows you to kill a few hours here and there. It won’t result in you changing your plans to sit there all day playing, but you’ll really enjoy your time playing it. I think, at its current price on the PSN store of $35.95, Tethered is priced fairly, it has the gameplay to justify it, the ability to use either the VR Headset for an added gameplay aspect or simply utilise the controller and at this point seems to be one of the best PSVR experiences on offer in terms of being a complete game. All up, I would say this is definitely worth the purchase if you’re even *remotely* interested in godsims.

Conclusion:

Tethered is fun. Pick it up, enjoy it, love it and hang with your Peeps! It’s cute but it’s never off-putting, it’s silly, but never stupid and it’s appealing to all age ranges. You’ll probably have to wrestle it away from your kids at some point if you have them, but hey, that’s just part of sharing games isn’t it! All in all, Tethered is a little ripper of a game that you won’t regret purchasing or playing, so I really have to give it:

Pro’s:

  • Appealing gameplay
  • Cute Graphics
  • Fun, relaxing gameplay
  • Relaxed pace
  • Nice sound

Con’s:

  • Motion controls are terrible

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