There’s a smorgasbord of VR games happening right now. Possibly, we are all trying to escape from this repugnant reality. Or maybe there’s just a bubble happening around VR what with all the Silicon Valley Nerds-in-Chiefs pushing their expensive headsets to the masses, encouraging lots of game makers to go and toy with the technology. Not a day goes by without the Steam early access lists filling up with more VRware, leaving me desensitised to the whole thing. Except when one of them is about downing shots in the midst of a zombie apocalypse and trying to shoot waves of the undead while your in-game vision blurs. They called it Drunk or Dead [Steam page] instead of “Dead Drunk” – the fools!
Here’s what it looks like in action.
Basically, it is another stationary wave shooter, which is one of VR’s most comfortable babygenres right now. But it also makes a mechanic out of drunkenness. The more sober you are, the more accurate your shots. But the drunker you are, the more time begins to slow, and you also get more points for each kill. If you get whacked by a zed, you instantly sober up a bit, and you also need to turn around, away from the oncoming waves, to pick up your next shot. The whole thing is about balance. As the blurb points out: “If you get too drunk or too sober – you lose.”
That’s a fun idea and I like it. Simple, silly, and sozzled. It also illustrates one of VR’s major problems. Many of the best games are essentially minigames, snippets of fun that look like they can be enjoyed and used up in a couple of hours. Until the platform can produce something more than a sense of novelty, I’m staying put with my flat rectangle of moving light. But if you’re an early adoptorisator, Drunk or Dead is available for the HTC Vive and its jazz-hands peripherals.