Announced last year, episodes one and two of Tarzan VR are finally available for PC VR. But does the game really make you feel like the King of the Jungle?
I’ll be honest — going into Tarzan VR, I had pretty low expectations. None of the promotional material had particularly wowed me from a gameplay perspective, and I didn’t expect much at all from the experience. I wouldn’t say my expectations were wildly exceeded, but it certainly has its moments and floats some fun ideas around.
Tarzan VR: King of the Jungle?
Tarzan VR is releasing episodically, with the first two installments (or comic ‘issues’, as they are referred to in-game) available now. You play as Tarzan, doing all the things you would expect Tarzan to do — rescuing Jane, swinging on vines, punching colonists, and wildly beating his chest. As far as the Tarzan lore goes, Fun Train seem to have covered all bases.
I played through most of the first episode, and the tone was quite different to what I was expecting. It kind of runs with the tongue-in-cheek vibe set by the mixed reality trailer — it’s more humorous than I was expecting, in a good way, and more visually interesting too. The voice acting is over the top, the punching sound effects are like something out of an 80s action movie, and the gorillas run comically fast, both towards you or away from you.
Combined with the cell-shaded art style that draws inspiration from comic book art, the game does have a certain charm that kept a smile on my face all the way through.
Getting into the Swing of Things
While it’s a lot of fun and a little bit silly, the gameplay is still pretty shallow. The combat is spam-based and incredibly easy, and the almost self-aware jankiness isn’t enough to fully forgive the more uninspired sections I played.
The fun-yet-shallow tone of the game is hard to explain, and you’re better off watching some of the footage embedded above — it’s a funny game and the developers have done a good job representing the iconic parts of the Tarzan story, but it’s nothing to write home about when it comes to gameplay.
Tarzan VR is definitely not a masterpiece and maybe not even something I’d recommend you try out yourself, but I can’t deny I still had some version of fun while playing it. The art style can be quite striking at times, especially the gorillas and NPCs, and it’s fun to run around a giant island map as Tarzan. The swinging mechanics are simple and quite unrealistic, but nonetheless still exciting to play with.
Tarzan VR: Final Thoughts
The game almost toes the line of so-bad-it’s-good, but that might be a bit too harsh. A lot of love has clearly gone into the game and if you can accept the shallow gameplay and just run with the weirdness of it all, you’ll probably have a good time.
The moment when you have to bang your chest and unleash one of Tarzan’s famous bellowing screams is a perfect example of the dichotomy of Tarzan VR. It’s a fun moment to act out in VR, but in-game it only results in a few rocks slowly moving into the ground to clear a path for Tarzan to run through. It makes absolutely no sense logically, but it was so silly that it made me smile anyway.
The game is a fun romp through the Tarzan universe, despite it’s shortcomings, and I’m excited to see how it develops over future episodes.