REVIEW: Doctor Who – Edge of Reality (2021)

A Videogame for multiple platforms

It’s been a while since I’ve played a Doctor Who videogame, but with my son’s recent obsession with Daleks, came an idea that we could play this new game together and have some fun in the process. Starring Jodie Whitaker and David Tennant, as the thirteenth and tenth Doctors respectively, the player controls a self-insert companion that is tasked with piloting The TARDIS and trying to reverse a series of bizarre “time glitches” that, in true Doctor Who fashion, threaten to unravel existence itself.

“Experience an unforgettable adventure through space and time, face terrifying monsters and solve a mind-bending mystery! Wield the sonic screwdriver as you join the Thirteenth Doctor (voiced by Jodie Whittaker) on a quest to save the universe, and meet the Tenth Doctor along the way (voiced by David Tennant in a guest appearance). Enter the Chaosverse, where reality itself is threatened by a series of time-breaking glitches, and partner with two formidable Doctors as you seek to uncover a deeper mystery. Face classic Doctor Who monsters, including Daleks, Weeping Angels and Cybermen, and confront a terrifying new threat: the CyberReaper. Now for non-VR platforms, Doctor Who: The Edge of Reality features new challenges, new locations and new characters (including the Tenth Doctor), with a reimagined and expanded story that builds on the previous game The Edge of Time.”

Being an adventure game, that comes with all of pros and cons of that genre for better or worse. The game is very immersive, putting the player in the shoes of a “companion”, a term the fans use to describe The Doctor’s assistants, as you try to help her figure out the issues going on with the time stream. This is, perhaps, one of the better formats for a Doctor Who game, as the character themselves is somewhat over-powered and knows too much to make the game very interesting. Having you step in as a companion is a nice touch, as The Doctor can lead you through levels without stepping on the player’s toes. In a way, this is a “remake” of a game from 2019 called Doctor Who: The Edge of Time which was a VR game. Before you freak out, The Edge of Reality is NOT a VR game, so you won’t need any expensive headsets to play. They basically took levels and situations from the game, and reworked them for a new control system.

I mentioned there were “cons” to the game, and there are. Adventure games are not any sort of HUGE money making enterprise. Yeah, some get popular, but it makes it hard to justify a big budget for them. With Doctor Who largely straying away from any sort “action game” trope, being a far more Cerebral hero than most, an adventure game is the only real logical fit for the franchise, save a puzzle game or some such. The Edge of Reality does not feel “cheap” necessarily, but it has more in common with a smaller independent game than a huge AAA blockbuster title. Don’t expect this to push the limits of your PS4 graphics card or win any awards for technical aspects in any way. That said, out of the handful of Doctor Who games I’ve played, including the free adventure games from ten years ago, this is perhaps the game with the fullest features and feels closest to an actual TV episode in a lot of ways.

This game is somewhat puzzle-heavy and due to this, I’d say it’s not very child-friendly. The puzzles aren’t hard, but they are more akin to puzzles found in games like Myst or Portal than an easier game made for children. My son got frustrated a few times due to the game not really establishing what actually had to be done, for example one that involved pushing buttons on the TARDIS in a certain order. After a bit of trial and error we were able to figure it out, but that was when I realized I would be playing the majority of the game while he watched.

There are some legitimate cool parts of this game, and a couple of genuine scares. At one point you have to get inside of a Dalek shell and fight against other Daleks through an ancient pyramid. This was awesome, and gives the player some insight on what it would be like to be inside of one of those treacherous extermination machines. Another section that stood out to me was a segment in an old house trying to avoid The Weeping Angels, an alien race that can only move if nobody is looking at them. This caused some genuinely scary moments when we were trying to solve a puzzle looking at the wall, hearing the sound of one of the terrifying alien statues dragging up behind us. Some sections of the game are better than others, but the variety and fan-service found in all of the chapters should excite all Doctor Who fans.

All-in-all this was a satisfying game despite its shortfalls, and is possibly the best Doctor Who game I own, granted there aren’t too many released stateside. It is well put together, hits the top ten list of popular Doctor Who villains, and has enough puzzles and scares to keep everyone excited to move the story along. Some of the puzzles are hampered by finnicky controls, or under-explained premises, but it’s never a game-beaker and can be overcome through trial and error.

If you are a fan of the franchise and have some extra cash sitting around, you really have no excuse not to check this out, as it adds yet another wrinkle to the already multi-faceted Doctor Who empire. Perhaps, if this game does well, we’ll see more games in the same wheelhouse – I’d definitely be excited at least!

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