Sometimes, a game comes out that gains so much popularity so quickly that it’s impossible to understand how are why or where this all began. These days, it seems that the games of this variety that do explode like this all have one thing in common. They are free. No risk, high reward is the name of the game in today’s gaming landscape and no game personifies this more than Another Axiom’s Gorilla Tag. A game so simple in its concept and execution yet it still manages to hook you in completely. Nobody is going to call Gorilla Tag a technical marvel or a groundbreaking title in the VR world, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t already found its place in the VR pantheon. Let’s dive into what makes this free-to-play game so addictive.
It’s tag. It’s that simple and yet timeless in its execution as well. Right off the bat, you’re thrown right into a game. No tutorial, no modes, nothing but the game itself. It’s refreshing in a way, but also pretty surprising considering there are some slight intricacies to what’s going on that could have a little instruction to it. There is currently two types of matches to have which are tag and infection, though the difference between the two is slight. In infection, you have to run away from the infected gorillas while in tag, you have to tag the few gorillas colored differently in the game.
How it Feels to Play
To put it plainly, it feels like you’re a gorilla. As hilarious as it sounds, this may be the VR game that gives you the most accurate experience that it is trying to depict. You feel exactly like a gorilla throughout your time with Gorilla Tag VR. That’s a tough thing to pull off you would think, until your thumping and jumping around like a gravity-defiant gorilla might do. Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, gorillas don’t have the vertical jump ability that you’ll have in this game, but any and everything you’re going to be doing will involve you working with your arms, so there is that. The actual gameplay is very simple, you are playing tag, so if you see a gorilla that’s not your color, that’s the one you’ve got to tag and it’s fairly easy to tell who’s who at all times. It’s the randomness of the gameplay that makes it so compelling though and you can pretty much hide or run anywhere on the map if you’ve got the physical stamina and creativity to get there. This is one of those games that will tire you out in a hurry, so be prepared for an intensely physical experience.
What will Keep you Playing
Gorilla tag is strictly online right now and that’s the biggest thing it has going for it as the community is BOOMING at the moment. Having played for over a week now, I’ve yet to find empty rooms, and the games are as lively as I can remember a VR game being. Seeing the incredible amount of hype the game has garnered, I find it hard to think there won’t be an expansion on what we currently have game mode-wise. Technically there are two modes to play right now, but still only one map. The longevity of this game will revolve around the new maps and modes as the gameplay is a rock-solid foundation for what could be the next big thing in VR.
Although this applies to most VR games, Gorilla Tag especially needs you to have an open play area with very little in front or in back of you as this game is 360 degrees with zero motion controls. All the movement in-game is going to be through you and your arms and so far, the injuries reported from people playing this are among the most prominent things to stand out in the game.
I recorded my 30-minute workout on Fitbit using an Oculus Quest 2 Headset
Calories burned: 272
Calories burned per minute: 9
Average Heart Rate: 120
Max Heart Rate: 165
Active Minutes: 28
When I tell you Gorilla Tag is intense, I’m not saying it will have you dripping sweat or out of breath, but rather the physical toll just simply moving around in the game takes on you is like nothing I’ve felt in VR before. You will find yourself physically spent after your time in Gorilla Tag and it’s a great workout that you just don’t expect when first playing.
You want the most insane arm workout in VR? You’ve got it right here. Every movement you make in Gorilla Tag is going to be dictated by your arms. You’re going to be swinging your arms back and forth and using force to launch yourself into the trees as well. The physics are pretty impressive in this game and I found I was able to launch myself into the air to some incredible heights if I put enough force into my ground slam. Is it realistic? No, but it’s fun as hell and a great arm workout to boot. You’ll also be climbing trees, scaling mountains, swinging from treehouses, and more. It’s the best pure arm workout I’ve had in VR.
Although your legs are pretty much not required by the game at all, the force of your arms constantly slamming around will eventually cause some wear and tear on your legs if you’re not bending down to help support your heavy upper body force. I found it was far easier to play for longer with a slightly bent legged stance and it also did a lot to keep me from falling over as I was constantly turning around and jumping all over the place. During the huge jumps you’re throwing yourself into, it’s helpful to bend a bit before going into them to alleviate some of the feeling of vertigo you might get from the fast-paced action.
It’s not just your arms getting a full workout here because your core has as much to do with anything you do in Gorilla tag. Seeing as it’s a 360 experience, you will be torquing your body constantly to reach for the nearest tree branch or as you are trying to reach a nearby gorilla to tag. The more force you’re putting into your actions, the more your core will be engaged, so know that the quality of the workout here will be reliant on how much you want to put into it here.
Time Perception- 8/10
Gorilla Tag is a bit of a hypnotizing experience. You will find yourself losing hours to this game like it’s nothing and really the only thing that will hold you back is physical exhaustion. The graphics are easy on the eyes so you won’t be experiencing any eye strain to keep you playing too. The community is a ton of fun to play with here and you’ll often find helpful players looking to teach you strategies and how the game works. It’s not a game that will hook you into a gripping world or anything of the sort, but it is a game that will latch its paws onto you and have a very hard time letting go simply for the fact that it’s just damn fun to play.
Fitness Scalability- 9/10
Here’s the thing with Gorilla Tag, if you’re not going to put a lot of effort into your movements, you’re going to suck at the game. There’s no way around this either, the other players are so fast-paced and erratic in their movements that if you don’t have the desire to match it, you’re not going to get any kind of workout out of the game and you’re also not going to have much fun with it either. Now, if you apply yourself and really buy in to the experience being sold to you here, albeit for free, you’re going to get not only an insane workout out of it but also get a very gratifying gameplay experience out of it as well.
Gorilla Tag is only in Early Access and yet it’s completely consumed the VR world as of now. Just two modes and one map and the VR gaming community is just losing their minds over the amount of fun to be had in this title, much like VR Chat has managed to do as well. As is, you can keep coming back solely for the fact that it’s a different feeling game each time you play because of the unpredictability of real-life players. With time though, we should see new maps, new game modes and who knows what else as just the movement style of the gorillas opens up endless gameplay possibilities to dive into.
Dizziness/ Lack of Nausea- 7/10
This is one of the only VR experiences I’ve had where everything movement-wise is predicated on your body. There is no locomotion system here outside of the one you output. Because of this, you’ll be constantly spinning around during your playtime while climbing and jumping throughout the levels. This didn’t affect me too much outside of a few times where my high-flying actions started to have stomach-related consequences. For some people though, this will cause some real dizziness as you just might not be used to controlling your movement this literally as it’s a rare case in VR games.
Social Competition- 9/10
The bread and butter of Gorilla Tag is the multiplayer aspect and it makes this fact very clear by throwing you into the fire right off the bat without any tutorial or anything to get you acclimated. The games are constantly addicting as you never can truly predict the movements of another real-life player and because of this, it’s a different experience every time as some games might have your target hiding in a tough to find corner while others might be flying around the treetops just daring you to climb to the top and do your best to make the tag when one fall would mean your failure. It’s a simple game, but man, it’s one of the most addicting VR multiplayer experiences out there and it should only expand more as the community continues to grow to a fever pitch.
VR Fit Score- 8.4/10
Game Score- 7/10
Gorilla Tag is one of the best overall multiplayer experiences in the VR realm at this time and despite its enormous hype and popularity, it actually presents itself as an amazingly fun experience. The multiplayer is constantly a new experience each time and depending on the players you’re in there with, it can be a coordinated effort or an all-out free for all. The arm-based movement system is brilliant in its execution and creates one of the most intense arm workouts in all of VR. The high-flying action is totally dictated by whether or not you’re willing to put effort into your movements, so you control just how effective you’ll be at the game. It is FREE and an Early Access that’s got a ton of potential for expansion in the future.
There are only two modes available at this time and if you have trouble finding rooms that engage you, you’ll be out of luck as there is no single-player experience available at this time. The graphics are rather crude, but this is a free-to-play game, so it’s tough to really rag on it for that. You will get very tired, fairly quickly while playing Gorilla Tag, so for those expecting to play for a very long time, you need to prepare to have some very sore arms the next day, or tone down your play style.