Preview: Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son – Become the Coffee Bean

When listing some of Bill Murray’s greatest films what do you automatically go for, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Zombieland or how about Groundhog Day? The latter might not be most people’s first choice for a virtual reality (VR) videogame but that’s exactly what Tequila Works is going for with VR sequel Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son. Demoed for the first time on the PlayStation VR stand during Gamescom this past week, the title is a mixture of mini-games designed to make everyone happy.

Due to the restrictions of a games show most demos tend to be the first level or sometimes midway through the title depending on how far development has progressed. What Tequila Works had on offer was in fact three curated segments showcasing the mini-game elements of Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son.

Just like the 1993 film, you’re stuck in a time loop. However you’re not playing Bill Murray’s arrogant self-centred character, Phil Connors, instead, you’re Phil Connors Jr, who just so happens to take after his father.  To get out of the situation you need to solve puzzles, or more accurately, help solve people’s problems putting them before yourself.

So first up you needed to make an awesome coffee to lift your brother’s spirits. This was a two-stage mini-game with the first part taking place inside the coffee machine. To know coffee you have to be coffee and in this instance, that means smashing apart beans in timed sequences. This particular section offered the most challenge with coffee beans weirdly floating in the air to be destroyed as quickly as possible using glowing orbs to throw at them.

After that came the outside of the coffee machine, lining up water pipes, pulling levers to hopefully pour this wondrous cup of coffee (should really have been tea). The third was a far more artistic affair, with you trying to impress a young graffiti artist by spray painting an animal design. Whilst not requiring a great deal of accuracy, so long as the relative stencil outline was met then all was good unlocking a paint mode to test those spray painting skills.

The film was always a good-natured comedy and Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son certainly gives off that vibe. In gameplay terms, the mini-games were amusing enough for a few minutes yet there was no chance to really connect with the story and the characters. A Tequila Works staff member did note there would be greater interactions and dialogue which will hopefully lift the experience above just another mini-game compilation. Additionally, there was no sign of the main time loop mechanic the whole story premise is based around which was a real shame.

Plus it’s important to get this right. Groundhog Day was a comedy gem. It may not have been a massive blockbuster but the film has garnered millions of fans around the world, becoming synonymous as the time loop movie copied many times over. As such, doing a disservice to this beloved film will likely see some intense backlash.

To be honest, VRFocus isn’t too worried. Tequila Works is well versed in VR development having released The Invisible Hours, a rather good murder mystery, back in 2017. Groundhog Day: Like Father Like Son arrives in less than a month’s time on 17th September for multiple headsets – not just PlayStation VR – so you’ll soon know whether to watch the film again or play the VR sequel.

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