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Directed by Abel Kohen, Biolum is a VR experiment featured at the NewImages Festival and the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.
Immersed in the deep sea, you are a young scientist looking for new forms of life. You will encounter glowing swimming and crawling creatures. Some of them seem quite intrigued by you. But this dive will soon take a turn for the worse as a parasite decides to infect you…
Biolum features an impressive underwater world, teeming with life : plants, fishes, isopods are everywhere. Once again, the artists from Albyon Studio did a fantastic job at creating a complex yet believable world, even if you will need a powerful computer to make it run smoothly. Setting the story within a cave is also a good idea : you can’t wander and get lost. It is also a good way to play with our fear of tight spaces, darkness and the unknown.
We won’t reveal the ending, but it does make a smart use of VR. Last, but not least, the helmet we wear during our exploration is a nice idea : it probably also helps to ground the viewer and to overcome the motion sickness that could be caused by the fact that you glide through water (no teleportation).
Of course, no VR experience is perfect. We would have enjoyed a bit more nuance in the dialogues. Another issue : even though you are restricted to the cave itself (you can’t just swim through stone and wander off), our head did go through walls a couple of times.
That being said, Biolum is still a very enjoyable VR experience. If you like sci-fi & fantasy, you should definitely chek it out.
Biolum was produced and created by IKO, Reynard Films, Prefontal Cortex, Albyon. You can experience this VR project at NewImages Festival (Paris), during XR3 (download the Museum of Other Realities app for your VR headset, then buy the NewImages Festival DLC) and at Annecy during the Annecy International Animated Film Festival. Biolum will also be launched on Steam as a standalone app next October.