Developer: Devolver Digital
Genre: VR first person brawler
MSRB( at time of writing): $19.99
Platform: Oculus Quest(1&2), HTC Vive, PlayStation VR
When buying your first VR game, be it the HTC Vive or an Oculus Quest 2, it’s best to buy a simple, fun, and cartoonish game. This gets you used to the sensation of having a Quest 2 headset strapped to your face, getting used to the somewhat disorienting physics.
It also helps to have a game where you can release your frustration from a day at the office listening to Jack from marketing talk shit about you at the water cooler,
If those points strike home for you, first get a therapist because that takes a toll on anyone’s mental health, but also buy Gorn, the brawler thats one of the most popular VR games. Well, aside from the eternally re-released Skyrim and new age religion of Beat Saber.
There’s little to no story, you’re a gladiator and you need to kill people to please an emperor. Not exactly breaking any narrative bounds. But why would it need to have combat as excellent as Gorn’s?
In contrast with last week’s Blade and Sorcery (https://shutyourcakehole310407335.wordpress.com/2022/01/07/blade-and-sorcery/ )Gorn sets itself apart from the normal hack and slash Oculus Quest VR games with a ridiculously cartoonish art style.
The game features a horde of overly muscled barbarians, with rubbery weapons that look like something out of Disneyland’s Toontown attraction.
Despite their rubbery, toylike appearance, that feeling actually makes the weapons quite satisfying.
It gives them a nice sense of momentum and weight when you swing them. This, along with the fantastic body dismemberment, where every body-part can be hacked off, gives the game a cathartic edge.
The gameplay more or less drives the entire game, as gladiators begin putting on armor, equipping better weapons, and swarming in greater and greater numbers. There’s little in the way of progression, mostly just unlocking different weapons in the custom game mode.
The weapons themselves all feel satisfying though, with a range of different play styles to choose from. My personal favorite was the enormous greatsword that admittedly broke the game by cutting every enemy with one swipe. Throw in some basic parrying mechanics with shields, long knives, as well as ranged weapons like the bow and arrow, and you have a great mixture of gameplay opportunities
I also liked the caestus mechanic, glove gadgets that stay on your arms with abilities ranging from throwing knives, wolverine claws, or grappling hooks. It added a nice bit of spice to the already excellent gameplay.
All in all, the game serves as a fun yet simple violent fantasy romp. The only real issue I have is the mechanic where when you receive a single hit, no matter how small the weapon, you have eight seconds to kill an enemy, or else it’s game over. This means the gladiators have to take big windup attacks that are easily evaded, unless you’ve been swarmed with enemies. I found it made the game too easy, and more about pattern memorization than combat skill like Blade and Sorcery. That’s more of a personal taste issue though.
In the end, I find Gorn to be a good intro to VR brawler games, especially with the simplicity of the Oculus Quest 2. It’s not too hard or too intricate, and it’s basically all about the gameplay. But it’s a game you’ll always be able to jump in and let your anger out on some cartoonish barbarians.