his review was originally created in June 2018 for HTC, targeted to their Vive/Vive Pro (VIVEPORT). It is reproduced here without alteration.
If the recent mega-hit movie, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, has you jonesing for some virtual reality dinosaur action, Paleo Museum VR is probably not what you’re looking for. Instead, Paleo Museum VR puts its focus on providing a self-driven educational museum experience, complete with the ability to enjoy its 15 different dinosaur fossils at a true 1:1 scale. While not quite as exciting as staring down the gaping maw of an overstimulated T-Rex, there’s still wonder to be had here.
Paleontology is defined by TheFreeDictionary website as the study of the forms of life existing in prehistoric or geologic times, as represented by the fossils of plants, animals, and other organisms. Naturally, for many people, it’s the dinosaurs that are easily the most fascinating paleontological subject matter. As such, it’s not too surprising that they’re the sole focus of Paleo Museum VR.
Each of the 15 dinosaur exhibits is accompanied by concise descriptions. Of course, the real educational value here is in being able to get up close and personal with each well-detailed 3D model, even being able to do things that wouldn’t be possible in a real museum, like warping inside or under an exhibit.
The 15 dinosaur fossils are: Allosaurus, Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Ichthyosaurus, Mosasaurus, Ornithomimus, Parasaurolophus, Plesiosaurus, Pteranodon, Spinosaurus, Stegosaurus, Styracosaurus, Therizinosaurus, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and Velociraptor. This collection of fossils spans millions of years and diverse periods, including various points in the Cretaceous, Jurassic, and Triassic. While it might have been nice for this experience to solely represent fossils from one specific period, it’s hard to argue too much with providing a more varied selection of subjects.
Paleo Museum VR can be enjoyed seated or standing and uses the Vive controllers to warp around the museum and make menu selections. The museum itself is rendered as a single large room with a curved ramp that you can ascend to see artwork by illustrator Sergey Krasovskiy. This artwork is well-done but suffers from being rendered in too low of a resolution to enjoy looking at too closely without it becoming a blur of pixels. Fortunately, the fossilized dinosaur skeleton renders do not suffer from this issue. The relaxing sound of cascading ocean waves provides the soundtrack.
While the overall virtual museum experience is generally well-done, once you look at all of the artwork and get up close and personal with each of the skeletons, there’s literally nothing else to do after that. It’s unfortunate that Paleo Museum VR doesn’t try to elevate its experience by introducing features like spot animations to demonstrate how these behemoths might have moved or provided more detailed descriptions of each exhibit. It would have even been a small step up if the sparse exhibit descriptions that were there were spoken, rather than just being text to read. In short, there are a myriad of ways this experience could have been improved. As it stands, Paleo Museum VR‘s ultimate value lies almost exclusively in how interesting and educational you find observing its life-sized fossilized skeletons is. While examining these virtual fossils to scale up close and personal is indeed awe inspiring, it still feels like a somewhat incomplete experience.
Score: 3 out of 5 stars.
Paleo Museum VR is available on Viveport or with a Viveport Subscription.