Drunk or Dead is a tequila-soaked VR shooter

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.


  1. Seafoam says:

    Is there a drinking game mechanic to it? Seems like golden material for that sort of thing.

  2. mrentropy5 says:

    Sounds kind of like Redneck Rampage.

    Shame about the zombies though. I thought they were played out and overused six years ago.

  3. Faxanadu says:

    Has anyone lately come up with interesting ways to circumvent the “moving sucks” in VR? Maybe tracking bands around your ankles and kicking or lifting them moves you… No, still sucks.

    Also sexist game very upset much offense moral outrage. :)

    • Cleave says:

      Yes, it turns out direct movement control is absolutely fine*.

      *for some people

  4. DelrueOfDetroit says:

    Alec, what were you saying again about wishing there were more crap shooters?

  5. Freud says:

    Looks quite boring, but since I neither own a VR headset or like these simple minigames I’m not really the target audience.

    • King_Rocket says:

      I own a headset and I find wave shooters to be just the dullest experiences. I think they have always sucked but since Valve convinced a large portion of the development scene that artificial locomotion is unusable, (which is false) these games seem to be popping up with more and more frequency.

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    ooshp says:

    If only getting ‘drunk’ in VR was actually fun, this game might not be awful.

  7. mechavolt says:

    I’m of the same mind in regards to gimmicky games. VR is too expensive to play quick little tech demos. I’m going to wait until we get something like Skyrim in VR.

    • Sakkura says:

      There are longer, non-gimmicky games in VR. Some games that can be played both flat and in VR fit the bill, but so do some VR-only games. Arizona Sunshine is another zombie shooter, nothing particularly surprising about it, but it’s not a wave shooter and it does have a plot.

  8. MajorLag says:

    At first I thought “Oh yeah, playing a drunk character would actually make any head tracking lag just extra immersion, kinda brilliant”, sadly it doesn’t really sound like that’s what’s going on at all.

    Not that anyone asked, but what I would have done is make the drunkenness a score multiplier that doesn’t affect speed, but does increasingly add visual distortion and head tracking lag. I suspect a game like that would need a lot of CYA legal disclaimers though because it’d be bound to cause a lot of motion sickness and puking and clearly it would be recommended to be sitting while playing. All extra immersion though, really.

  9. Mr_Day says:

    You mean –

    *pinches bridge of nose*

    It isn’t a game where you are fighting off zombies at a party where you have to figure out if the person shambling towards you is undead or simply drunk?

    Why the fudge not?