There’s a strand of VR madness that really works. Accounting+ embraces inevitable moral panics and judgment-free murder to create something entirely surreal. Job Simulator finds fun in the mundane, letting you live out your stupidest daydreams free from consequence. As the name implies, Mosh Pit Simulator has a slightly more traditional take on the zany possibilities of VR. It’s essentially a Goat Simulator wannabe inside a headset. I’m sorry to say the results are profoundly less interesting.
Don’t get me wrong, I had my giggles inside Mosh Pit Simulator’s creaky sandbox. Attaching missiles to a whale’s fin and then watching it corkscrew off into the sunset or punching rubbery humans through windows 50 stories high will always be at least a little funny. But it’s laughter I’ve already enjoyed in other, better games, and it wears too thin too fast.
If anything, this feels like a cautionary tale. Yes, there’s fun to be had being the last human on earth, but be careful what you wish for. Mosh Pit Simulator is set in a relatively small open world in which human’s bones have been turned to rubber and their brains resemble mush. In the sandbox mode, you can summon missiles and rotators that will send them and other objects spiraling off into space. It’s broken more often than not; humans clip through walls, collisions end with objects disappearing and the screen can stutter with how much it has to handle.
But any laughter you might get from it rings hollow across the game’s unsightly streets. These aren’t happy accidents; they’re glitches for the sake of glitches. Mosh Pit Simulator seems content with laughing at VR’s limitations rather than finding the deeper humor in what it does right. The world is also empty; there are some NPCs around but you have to summon most of them yourself in a shop. In the game’s single-player story (essentially a glorified tutorial), giant animals tour the town like clockwork. It fleshes the world out considerably. If the sandbox mode itself were this unpredictable I might find a reason to spend more than a few minutes inside it.
As it stands, this world feels dead and not intentionally so. There’s no audible impact when objects collide, making spectacular crashes feel lifeless. You can stick any two objects together but there often isn’t much point to it. The truth of the matter is that there just isn’t that much to do.
Now, I realize that I probably just don’t ‘get it’. I know that I’m being a Scrooge here and that people may mine hilarity from Mosh Pit. It’s probably the same people that find Drunkn Bar fight funny (I don’t). And, hey, more power to you. This has enough ammunition to fuel a few hours of streaming madness for sure. But a VR game that’s ultimately better watched than it is played is not something I can recommend.
Mosh Pit Simulator’s current state is a bit of a disappointment, then. This is all just the start, though. The game’s kicking off a proposed six-month Early Access phase today. If Mosh Pit wants to become the true Garry’s Mod of VR it’s going to need a heck of a lot more substance. As it stands, this is a virtual playground in dire need of some life.
Oh and might I add: bah humbug.
Mosh Pit Simulator is available now on Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Windows VR for $19.99.