'Augmented reality" games -- in which your device's camera makes it appear that virtual on-screen elements have appeared in the real world -- enjoyed the tiniest of gold rushes as part of the launch of the Nintendo 3DS and the PlayStation Vita. Open Me!, available on PlayStation Vita, is the genre's healthiest stab yet at proving "augmented reality" can translate to "good time."
Open Me! is a series of locked box puzzles, each rendered in three dimensions. Using an augmented-reality marker card to position the box in front of you, you can use the Vita to examine the box from any angle. Your goal is to find the button or switch or combination of both that will allow the box to open.
To get you acclimated, one of the earliest puzzles simply puts a button on the back of the box. The box designs become more creative after you've learned the basics. The best examples stretch your thinking, like a cuckoo clock box that requires you to open it according to the real world's time. The worst are the finger equivalent of tongue twisters, where the game's less-than-precise controls come at odds with the augmented- reality tech.
Multiplayer boxes require two players (each with a Vita) who must cooperate to open a shared box. A suite of tools lets you make your own puzzle box. Sure, some boxes will be more fun than others, but the overall game is so clever that it definitely makes Open Me! something that Vita owners should check out.
RATING E 10+
PLOT Get a handle on opening these boxes.
DETAILS Sony PlayStation Vita, $9.99
BOTTOM LINE This game thinks outside the box.