So how many of you want to play or own VR but can’t afford it or justify it to yourself or your partner? Well how about having Horror VR game, an Action VR game and a game I can only describe as a test of your brain’s ability to recognize that it’s not real fear of heights test.
- Developer: Bandai Namco
- Genre: Horror, action, VR fear
- Release Date: October 2017
- Platforms: VR HTC Vive
Bandai namco launched a huge VR portal in Japan and now we have 2 right here in the UK (further details below) Here’s your chance to check out all the hype and experience brilliant VR fun guided by trained staff in a controlled environment not on offer in your own home.
We were invited to visit my local VR Zone Portal in Tunbridge Wells at Knights Park, Longfield Rd, Tunbridge Wells TN2 3UW where the Hollywood Bowl hosts the portal.
Firstly please allow me to plug the site itself, Hollywood bowl, recently refurbished and redesigned has given a huge amount of space to the VR portal I have to say it’s been done extremely well. Very clean, well presented and loads of space for fellow gamers and interested onlookers to view your VR experience. Obviously weekends are very busy so try to aim for an off peak time but after watching my colleague I can tell you just watching is fun in its own right
The 3 games on offer are:
Hospital Escape Terror
Bound to an electric wheelchair you must escape the hospital with your friends, leaving no one behind but what awaits your journey could just scare the **** out of you.
Push forward and use your flashlight to navigate your way out of the hospital, but this isn’t like on your big screen at home, you can see all around you, your eyes are immersed in the dark and disgusting surroundings of this experience so watch out, but don’t miss out by closing your eyes there’s plenty to see and hear……
Experience length 6-10 minutes
Extreme Courage Test machine – The big fear of heights experience
Walk the board and try not to fall off before rescuing the cat, couldn’t be simpler… could it?
This is a great show of what VR is all about and whilst only a short taster it’s worth it real fear might just kick in.
Staff made it even better by interacting with you as well and it’s enough to wet your taste buds for more. I’m not going to give anymore away this should be enough for you to get down there and have a go.
Experience length 3-5 minutes
An interactive cinematic VR attraction where you fly a mech into combat taking down enemy mechs before an epic battle scene at the end, this really capitulates VR and with an immersive surrounding view of everything there is more to look at than just mechs (no you can’t help but look, just try not to a dare you!)
Not only is this a VR experience though your are in moving rumbling chair =designed to give a full experience and it really does capture your interest but the cliffhanger at the end just leaves you wanting more.
Experience length 5-10 minutes
After a couple of rounds across the 3 VR stations we were really impressed with the setup, different experiences on offer and the potential of what else could come in the future should this go well. It’s a very reasonable cost for less than £15 (at the time of writing) you get all 3 experiences which will take around 30-45 minutes to get around after setting up etc.
The headsets are surprisingly light but it does get hot in there due to the screen and it being padded all round your eyes. Sound is extremely immersive and the additions of the argyle shift chair and Fear of heights board add to the experience beyond the normal VR boundaries. Whilst visually it was not as polished as you might see on 4k consoles, this is a huge drain on PC computing powers and in reality it’s still early in the life of VR let alone custom experiences like this so we were not expecting top quality but it’s more than enough to wet your appetite and who knows you might justify the outlay on a VR in your own home after this, I know I am.
Intrigued how VR has come on since my first go 3 years ago at Eurogamer this was an opportunity i couldn’t miss, and I have to say I left really looking forward to returning when future additions or alternate game sections are on offer as it was great fun not only to play but to watch others and how they reacted to the scenarios and realism that VR uniquely brings to gaming and experiences on offer. Just try not to ask if and when Mario Kart might be coming.
Find out about upcoming locations and exciting experiences still yet to come by following the VR Zone Portals below on social media