Boneworks (stylized in all caps as BONEWORKS) is a first person adventure game for VR systems by Stress Level Zero. It is currently available on Steam, and launched on December 10th, 2019.
The main thrust of Boneworks is the MythOS system- a highly advanced virtual reality world that allows the user to inhabit a virtual space of seemingly infinite size. Thrust into this strange landscape, you are forced to use everything in your arsenal to survive.
Boneworks prides itself on it's highly detailed physics based system, where guns, melee weapons and whatever you can get your hands on reacts to the environment. The game incentivizes the player do this, as well, and allows the player to interact with the playscape however they desire.
Tropes present in this game:
- Bullet Time: The player character is able to put themselves into slow motion for a certain amount of time. However, this is played with as you move just as slow as well. This means you have to adjust your movements accordingly, though it can be used for some neat tricks like reloading a gun by tossing a magazine into the air and allowing it to land into the magazine slot.
- Critical Hit: Smashing a Null Body in their head will kill them instantly if the blow is impactful enough.
- Check-Point Starvation: There is no way to save your progress in a level. Considering most levels will likely take you over an hour to complete on your first run, this has understandably been a major source of complaint from players. The good news is, according to Word of God, the developers simply underestimated how long each level would take, and this will be addressed in an upcoming update. Keep in mind that this only applies to quitting the game; there are periodic checkpoints you will return to if you die.note
- Good Old Fisticuffs: Averted. Your punches do pathetic damage in comparison to your wide variety of weapons at your disposal. It's likely that a Null Body will finish you off single-handedly unless you come at it with some kind of weapon, even something small like a brick. On the other hand, empty hands can also be used to grab enemies to hold them at bay, throw them, or even smash them against a wall or desk.
- Gainax Ending: And middle, and beginning. The overall plot is very unclear, but the climax takes the cake. After defeating the Null Body core, the player is subjected to a cutscene of Ford, the main character, realizing that their mind has been seperated from their real world body. Afterwards, the player is transported to a medieval dungeon populated by strange, peppy versions of themselves. After fighting in an arena and killing a version of themselves with a crown, the player does a few more puzzle solving bits before the player is treated to an ending cutscene of mysterious men finding the protagonists body in the real world and killing it.
- Gratuitous Latin: The Ominous Latin Chanting in ''Opera De Ossium'', the boss music for the fight in the gravity core, is a very loose translation of "You are a player in Boneworks, and I am Stress Level Zero."note
- Improvised Weapon: Everything that seems light enough for you to carry can (and probably will) be used as a weapon.
- Justified Tutorial: The Museum level demonstrates the numerous game mechanics in detail, and is designed as a literal museum for the inhabitants of MythOS to get accustomed to their new bodies. The player is forced through here early on, and there are a few optional gameplay tutorials to teach the player more complex game mechanics and physics features if they so choose.
- Last Chance Hit Point: In a manner similar to GORN Visceral Reality. Once you take fatal damage, you have a few moments in Bullet Time to kill an enemy to bring yourself back from the brink.
- One Bullet Clips: Played straight, depositing magazines into your belt sorts them for you and dropped magazines don't detract from the ammo on your person and eventually despawn, allowing you to perform a reload in heated combat without needing to worry about wasted ammo. The ammo belt will also detect which weapon is in your hands so you don't need to worry about grabbing a STANAG magazine by mistake while using a 9mm weapon and vice versa.
- Take That!: During the Museum level, the player is given a trip through the history of Monogon Industries' virtual reality development history. During one phase, you're shown that the "early stages" of development relied on a teleporting system that many users decried as irritating to use. This mirrors real life VR development, wherein many early VR games used a teleporting movement system instead of locomotion, which is something that was quickly dropped but still used for sensitive players.
- Tech Demo Game: The main reason why Boneworks was developed was to meaningfully advance VR by emphasizing physics-based gameplay over everything else, and the game makes sure you know it. The very first real level is a massive Museum tutorial sequence designed to both teach you how to play and force you take in just how much work the devs put into this engine.