If you’re like me and the majority of the VR gaming public, then you’re probably tired of wave shooters. For the most part, they all feel the same and you can see everything that they have to offer in about an hour or less. Unless you’re ultra competitive or love to replay things just to get a higher score, chances are you won’t return to most VR wave shooters that you play. I know I don’t.
But when a developer understands that and instead of trying to reinvent the wheel just makes something polished with a clever twist and sells it for a fair price, it’s almost as good as if it were something brand new in the first place. That’s the camp that Drunk or Dead, a new wave shooter from indie developer 4 I Lab, falls into.
The core premise behind Drunk or Dead is simple, silly, and fun. In front of you at the bar are a slew of alcoholic refreshments you can pound back throughout the game. Each time you take a drink you get little bit less sober and a little bit less accurate as your vision swims and blurs. However, the more you drink, the slower the zombies are and the less likely you are to succumb to the zombie virus, as it can only affect sober people in this frat house dreamscape. That creates an interesting balancing dynamic.
As zombies hit you, you become more sober and if you become too sober, then you fall victim to the virus and die. On the flip side, if you become too drunk, you’ll end up dying as well because that’s called alcohol poisoning. Rack up points by killing zombies — the drunker you are, the more points a kill is worth.
It’s a clever twist that adds a bit of strategy and fun to an otherwise plain wave zombie shooter. The shooting mechanics feel good — but that’s just par for the course in a game like this almost a year after headsets release. Passable mechanics aren’t enough anymore. There is no locomotion.
In a way, the drinking mechanic riffs on the fact that VR games can make some people sick due to simulation and motion sickness. When you drink in the game, your vision starts to not only blur, but it doubles as well (shown above), making it difficult to differentiate between which gun in your hand is the real gun or which zombie approaching you is real vs. the mirrored version.
Thankfully the sensation didn’t actually cause me to stumble or feel sick, but I could imagine it impacting other people negatively. It’s a silly gimmick for the most part, but it may not feel great from a comfort perspective for everybody.
Drunk or Dead isn’t a complex game, but it’s fun to play and could certainly earn its way into your rotation when showing off VR to friends and family. Proper horror titles can be overwhelming for some players so a simple and straight-forward premise like Drunk or Dead fits in nicely for the current VR climate.
You can purchase Drunk or Dead on Steam starting today for $5.99 (currently 20% off at $4.79 with its launch discount until 1/17) with official support for HTC Vive and tracked motion controllers.