theBlu: is a deeply immersive VR series that allows audiences to experience the wonder and majesty of the ocean through different habitats and come face to face with some of the most awe-inspiring species on the planet.From the product description
About the Experience
This is a pretty old app at this point, but I’m reviewing it anyway since not everyone pays attention to older titles. I’ll just spoil the review by saying it’s amazing! Every person I’ve shown this to has walked away convinced of the power of virtual reality. It’s an amazing way to explore the ocean depths without needing a wetsuit or worrying about the bends.
TheBlu (sorry, I didn’t name it) is made up of three “episodes.” I think when it was first released a few years ago, the developers came out with them one at a time. Now it’s just an app with three sections. This doesn’t take anything away from it, but don’t expect there to be more episodes coming out. It would be nice though!
Once you start it up, you are presented with options to enter the different settings. You can be visited by a whale, experience a reef migration, or explore the luminous abyss. All three are absolutely excellent!
Each setting is a defined amount of time where certain things will swim past you. You’ll want to keep your eyes open and really take in everything around you. As with everything in VR, you can only walk around so far, but don’t forget to bend down and peek under or behind rocks. There are just so many details to take notice of.
Graphics and Sound
The graphics and sound are high quality and almost magical. Everything is bright and colorful, and the wildlife moves around lazily through the deep waters as if they’re real. It’s fun to move around and see everything, but you can also just sit there and enjoy the feeling of immersion.
This isn’t a documentary. I think there is some missed opportunity to allow you to unobtrusively learn some facts about what you’re seeing, but they decided to keep it purely experiential. They chose a clear focus and leaned into it. It doesn’t detract from it, but you should be aware in case you’re expecting educational content.
Navigation and Interactivity
The app is divided into three sections/chapters:
- Whale Encounter
An undersea encounter with the largest species on earth.
- Reef Migration
Witness the magnificence of an undersea migration on the edge of a coral reef.
- Luminous Abyss
Venture into the deepest region of the ocean to discover the iridescent abyss.
Each section lasts around five minutes. You can also enter a preview mode for a shortened experience, or ambient mode for an untimed visit. The timed versions are setup to include certain events like the whale swimming by. There’s also a mode where you can slow down time and take pictures.
When you’re in the dark areas, you can shine your flashlight around to see better. You can also reach out to touch the sea anemones and swimming creatures. They react as you would expect them to. They also swim around you if you’re in their way.
Updates and Support
After the initial updates for the three episodes and assorted patches (minor bug fixes), there hasn’t been an update in nearly a year. I haven’t encountered any bugs with it, but it’s always possible they could update it to add support for a newer headset.
This is one of the best apps for getting someone excited about virtual reality. The graphics, sounds, and lively surroundings make you feel transported to a place most people never get to visit. It’s not free, but it’s a good deal for the price, and it goes on sale every so often. I highly recommend theBlu to anyone looking for new experiences in VR.
- Great graphics quality
- Undersea life is very realistic
- Nice variety of settings
- I would always accept another episode!
Disclosures and footnotes
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