Hands-On With GORN VR (HTC Vive)

For the purpose of transparency, this impressions was completed using a code provided by Free Lives. The use of a free code does not affect my judgement of this product.

Please Note: This game is still in early access at the point of writing the impressions.

I was one of the people who spent the time to download the demo from Free Lives website. Then had to force launch this game through Steam, just so I could get a taste of GORN using the HTC Vive. Doing this obviously made the game face some issues like crashes – but now the game is readily available on Steam I couldn’t wait to try it out.

Now for those who are not sure what GORN is, this is a gladiator simulator – which is super violent, but with a slapstick comedy element to it. When playing GORN you do seem to get involved in the game, and can become maybe a little to blood thirsty. However, the game keeps the difference between it being a game and real-life by the cartoon-like visuals and the comedy side of the game.

The aim of GORN is simple, survive the waves on enemies coming at you in the arena – but how you do that is up to you. You are presented with weapons and of course your fists or even if you remove a body part of your enemy you can pick that up and use that. Where this may sound like it could get really boring quickly, you will be surprised to know it doesn’t. I think this is helped by the comedy and the over the top gore the game offers, you really do just want to continue and cause more damage to your enemies – and find new comical ways to kill them.

There is some progression in the game, as you start to complete waves you get a Champion Battle – which is more advanced enemy to take on the arena. Also, as you complete more levels and tasks you will unlock new weapons to try out, and you can eventually get your preferred options. Although personally I found the mace you get given at the beginning and the sword my most deadly combination. When you done all the parts and the bosses on the Champion Battles, there is also an endless mode that keeps you going until you need a break – as the game is very tiring.

You will see from the above video that the animation of the characters and how it plays really makes this game have a lot of replay value and charm. There are loads more to do after the parts showing in my video/previous stream of it on that games release. I really have found it becoming my go to game when I strap the HTC Vive on, it really can be played in short spurts or long sessions. Which is always a bonus, because sometimes you just want a quick game on something and this doesn’t force you to spend time a good chunk of time with it – and you will still have fun with the game, including a good laugh at the same time.

As I have previously mentioned the game is not for people who are opposed to violence in video games – and this is where my main and only issues with GORN is. It is inevitable at some point VR gaming will be linked to some sort violent crime (by the small-minded media), and GORN is the perfect target for them. But, when this does this happen if GORN is named, I will likely put it back on and have a laugh at how small-minded some publications/journalists are.

Even-though the game is still in Early Access I really think GORN VR is a game that could bring more people to VR. I am looking forward to see what comes as it progresses through development, until it’s out of Early Access.