Step into the whimsical, childlike universe of the newest VR puzzle title from Fast Travel Games, The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets, now available on Oculus Quest and the Rift Platform! In this interactive tale with a storybook style, you’ll explore miniature worlds and relive your childhood memories alongside your grandfather. Your objective is to find coins and cute pets hidden throughout the worlds by solving increasingly challenging puzzles, with gameplay in a fully interactive environment. Each world has a 360° view, with its own heartwarming storyline, tailored narration, and unique animation. Traverse the worlds of your childhood imagination, including a winter wonderland and an island getaway, and use your detective skills to solve the mystery of the stolen pets.
The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets is about more than just puzzles—it's also about family relationships, both good and bad. This charming journey is narrated by your grandfather, who helps you solve each world’s mysteries and guides you in your journey. Meanwhile, your sister is the one behind this whole mess. Talk about family problems!
We chatted with Fast Travel Games Creative Lead James Hunt to learn more about the game.
What was the inspiration behind The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets?
James Hunt: I’ve always loved joyful puzzle games, like Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker and Machinarium, and was curious about how a miniature puzzle game would play in VR. VR is so immersive and the sense of scale that can be experienced is really unmatched. Our game idea turned out to fit VR really well! The core game idea has stayed the same throughout the production, but the look of the worlds and puzzles have improved up until launch.
How did your previous work in VR help inform your work on The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets?
JH: All of us at Fast Travel Games learned a lot about what works and what doesn’t while developing our previous VR title Apex Construct. One of the main problems to solve in VR is how to handle locomotion and the risk of discomfort. I wanted to make a game where these two problems didn’t exist, a game that could be immediately enjoyed by anyone, and I believe we have succeeded.
How long was the game in development? Any favorite anecdotes you’d like to share?
JH: From initial idea to final release, it’s been in production just short of a year. In the beginning, there were only two of us working on the game. Towards the end, we had eight people at most.
When first writing the story, we couldn’t make our minds up if the grandparent talking to you in the game was your grandfather or grandmother. We ended up asking for auditions from both female and male voice talent and in the end chose a male talent by the name of Martin Cox because we liked his grandpa voice the best!
Any cultural references players should be on the lookout for?
JH: There is a tribute puzzle to my British inheritance in the first world. Who doesn’t love a cup of tea? ;)
What kind of response have you seen since announcing the game? Any memorable demo reactions?
JH: The response has been fantastic, from all kinds of players in different ages and with different gaming experiences. And it has been so great to see them smile while playing! Also, to win the 2019 Raindance Film Festival award for Best Immersive Game was definitely a highlight and confirmation that we’ve made something special.
What influenced the character design and overall art direction?
JH: I love small simplistic characters, and this is my take on it. As for art direction, we really wanted to create something that would tease the curiosity in the player and at the same time be inviting and accessible.
Who did you work with on the soundtrack and sound design? What was that experience like?
JH: We are really fortunate to have music from Wintergatan, the world-renowned creators of Marble Machine, in the game! When working on the first prototype, I put one of their songs in the game and it was a perfect fit! At the time, I couldn't have dreamt of actually ending up with their music in the finished game. All sound effects are made by the super talented team at Two Feathers Studio, who also made the music for Apex Construct.
What’s your favorite part of the game and why?
JH: I really like the playfulness and joy of interacting with the different elements in the worlds and the animated characters—the fact that you can play at your own pace and explore all the details without stress or failstates.
What’s next for you? Any exciting updates in the works?
JH: We’re currently finalizing the development of Budget Cuts 2: Mission Insolvency together with Neat Corporation, which is being released for the Oculus Rift Platform on December 12. And who knows? Maybe The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets becomes such a hit that we just have to make a sequel ;)
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
JH: Just that we are super excited to finally let you play The Curious Tale of the Stolen Pets and hope you like it as much as we do!
Thanks for talking with us James. We’re excited for the Oculus community to see their favorite cute animals in VR.