The Void in Glendale Galleria is a virtual reality theater that launched in early 2018 with Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, and has recently begun to rotate their experiences to include Ghostbusters and original concept Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment.
Set after the closure of the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, Nicodemus sends your party back in time to fight a demon that escaped during an experiment in electro-spiritualism.
The story is simple: Explore the abandoned exhibits, and don’t get captured by the demon. You are given a few basic puzzles to solve, and are encouraged to explore all aspects of the virtual world, discovering the clues hidden within.
At the beginning of the experience, you select one of 6 character cards, each with their own backstory, which becomes your avatar once you enter. After your party of four is fitted with VR equipment, designed to permit you to roam freely through the space, your travel begins. Stepping back to the 1890s, your party is split , your paths diverging with a shocking sight. The environments are extremely well-rendered, and the visuals are enhanced with subtle real-world effects like shifts in temperature, scents, and tangible objects to manipulate.
There’s a palpably tense atmosphere created on your journey through the effective use of pacing, lighting, and sound, keeping you invested and on your toes, and ultimately leading to several extremely effective scares, amplified by the VR pack’s physical effects.
My group had a blast as we went through; the environment was fantastically detailed, with constant changes that kept us looking around. The puzzles are straightforward, but provide exciting interaction with the world, and a few startling effects. Our final scene was delightfully shocking, leaving us breathlessly laughing as we headed out of the room, already hoping to try again for a different outcome.
With multiple endings – determined by your group’s choices throughout the experience – as well as the detailed, multi-layered environment, Nicodemus is worth more than one visit, and is an excellent example of using VR to build a new, terrifying world that is independent of existing licenses. I look forward to both exploring this world again, and seeing what other adventures the creators can develop.
Tickets are available Wednesdays and Fridays through September at their website.