Heralding back to a graphic style similar to Plants Vs Zombies, the Zombie Training Simulator is a comical yet intense romp into the Virtual Reality First Person Shooter (VRFPS) scene - and so far, delights.
Zombie Training Simulator was developed and published by Acceleroto and released in April this year onto the HTC Vive via the Steam Store. ZTS currently retails for $19.99 USD ($26.41 AUD).
We played in an unobstructed, open room at the Merkava office (thanks, gentlemen!) and our experience with the game was amazing. The comical and cartoonish nature of the game certainly doesn’t impede how anxious you feel as the zombies close in. Your heart pumps, and whilst there’s no fear, your legs get weak (and your arms heavy - Mum’s spaghetti tonight for dinner?) and you become nervous.
Which says a lot about the future of First Person Shooters (FPSs) in the Virtual Reality realm.
The figures of the zombies are much like a cardboard cut out - they don’t move their limbs, they merely approach you at random as if they were on tracks or wheels. The atypical zombie groans enhance the ambience of the environment but I feel the strongest case for the game is in what it’s being played on. There is something special about a First Person shooter VR game and ZTS displays it perfectly.
You’re in the world now - and the game enhances that fact with every design choice they’ve implemented. Having two hands instead of one, the ability to dual wield or whip out your katana in one hand and your pistol in the other, the ability to pick up items on the table behind you and use them in your gameplay. The ability to spread your arms as wide as your natural reach allows so that you can shoot incoming foes from two directions. The responsiveness of controls was flawless, where we shot is exactly where we aimed, making it easy to nail the shot on the gas tank we just threw to catch a dozen zombies in one attack or nail that up-close zombie directly in its cardboard cut-out cranium.
Zombie Training Simulator provides you with an assortment of weapons available on the table behind you ranging from hand guns to assault rifles to shotguns and at any point in time in the game you can whip out two katanas by reaching over your back. New weapons unlock as you garner more kills - giving you a reason to keep playing. You’re also given a lamp, a stack of meat (to distract zombies), three grenades, a radio and some gas tanks - each and every one of them useable. The game had six skill tests available and a number of regular shooting ranges - at any point, you could shoot a big red switch that enabled “Hardcore mode” that then gives you a torch on your gun and set the visibility to almost zero.
An odd choice was the distinct lack of music - which had the overall effect of making the gun shots absolutely hammer the space we were in - this isn’t the kind of game you want to play while people are studying or reading. However, grab some wifi headphones and you’re ready to roll. A “Session Best” scoreboard ensures that you can bring friends over at any time and really try to make a party of the game. It lends itself well to the concept, however, the difficulty of swapping the Vive between heads might become frustrating. We would absolutely love to see a multiplayer mode from two different angles.
Should you buy Zombie Training Simulator? Yes, and yes again. Out of all the games we played this was by far the most enjoyable so far with the best responsiveness from controls and overall best design. The game updates regularly and requires a very small play area with minimal movement - making it perfect for any environment. It’s an absolutely hilarious blast of fun that’s perfect for any age, though younger than ten might get a bit intimidated by the zombies as they close in. For almost twenty-five bucks, you’ll certainly want to grab this gem - we certainly will be. Best FPS/Arcade shooter we’ve had the pleasure of playing yet.