Overkill VR is an “on-rails” shooter full of fairly constant action, waist-high cover spots, and fun shooting mechanics. Its thirty levels are challenging to overcome, but not impossible. The game makes it clear there is a conflict happening, and that you are a member of an elite squad, but the story is a bit on the sparse side.
Why am I shooting bad guys in an alley? Why is this tank burrowing through a wall trying to turn me into Swiss Cheese? These contextual questions would undoubtedly make the experience more vibrant, but Overkill is still a great wave shooter that will work your legs and get you off the couch.
Can you survive the onslaught?
I used a FitBit Charge 2 to track my heart rate and steps taken. My session lasted for 57 minutes, and I played an array of levels below 30 stars. There isn’t a campaign mode with narrative and linear design. Players select levels from a series of locations on the map. While there are no difficulty markings on levels, it’s safe to assume enemies at the topmost corners of the map are higher level than those at the bottom.
Bear in mind that there are upgrades designed to improve the stopping power of weapons, alongside accuracy, the rate of fire, clip size and other stat boosts. Players can also buy airstrikes that wipe every bad guy from the map. I avoided these air strikes and focused primarily on using the Desert Eagle pistol for this review. The fully upgraded clip holds twelve shots before I need to squat and reload, so pistols are good for keeping the pace of the workout high.
The flow of the game is quite simple: arrive at a point in the arena, shoot the bad guys, squat to reload, point to your next area. Yellow areas are normal difficulty, red regions are harder but offer no XP or stat boosts (or only marginal ones) for completing them. It’s about bragging rights and fitness.
Overkill VR rewards you after each mission with cash you can spend on new weapons and upgrades. The more you spend, the stronger your weapons and the easier the game. You can opt for weaker weapons to try and maintain intensity, but the game’s boss robots will be nearly impossible to take down. There’s a fine line to walk for intensity, which is why I like the Desert Eagle. If you’re accurate, then you’re rewarded with easy takedowns. If not, you need to squat and reload. Keep a high-powered rifle by your side for boss robots, and you should be well equipped for most maps.
Here are the results of my 57 minutes:
Calories Burned: 195
Average Heart Rate: 97
Max Heart Rate: 109
Overkill uses two-handed rifles and one-handed pistols. It offers PPGun functionality, but I didn’t test this. I imagine the PPGun would add some more intensity to the arms portion. You could also use a weighted vest to improve natural resistance for your chest and shoulders, or wrist weights.
I needed to do a lot of shuffling between basic squats and dropping to one knee. At one point I had to go almost entirely prone to dodge some bullets behind very low cover. Fortunately, the shortest cover spots are not the norm.
I found that improving squat form and standing in a half-squat stance helped enhance my survivability and pushed my heartrate. This feeling reminds me so much of paintballing, where you’re putting a strain on your legs and knees to stand at very awkward positions, so you present the smallest possible target. You can also take advantage of room scale by squat walking to opposite sides of your cover spot. I was surprised to find several interesting shooting spots by crouch walking.
Core and Balance 6/10
I didn’t end my session feeling like I’d done situps, but balance is super crucial when you need to hold squat positions for long periods. In past sessions, I have fallen off balance from standing on one knee and shooting at an odd angle.
Time Perception 7/10
There’s a lot of downtime between missions as you upgrade weapons or choose your next warzone. However, battles are intense and fast. I went through probably 15 or so missions in my workout session, not including levels I replayed because I died.
There’s a lot to do if you like this formula. Overkill has rapidly become the second-most played game in our home, even though it has virtually no story. For attitude or style, there are games like Serious Sam or Sairento. Overkill VR is very straightforward. One review on Steam criticized it for looking like a mobile game, and that’s not entirely inaccurate. The devs could have given us some better quality models and a decent physics system.
You rank up to unlock new weapons, forcing you to replay levels you enjoyed (and some you didn’t) to earn extra stars. The gunplay is solid and the levels never force you to do gimmicky things to win. No shooting switches or teleporting to a specific locale to wait for something to happen. When you’re done shooting, the game rewards you and you go to the next location.
An endless horde mode is available, but it can be overwhelming unless you opt for the airstrikes and high-powered weaponry. It only utilizes waist-high cover in a single location. The campaign, or main game, offers a better diversity in level design and enemy encounters.
Fitness Scalability 5/10
I’m a little disappointed by my calorie burn, but this isn’t cardio. This game is about strengthening legs and core, and I think Overkill does that very well. I rate this title a 5/10 for scalability because I believe that those who are in better shape will want a more demanding (and probably more locomotion-heavy) shooter like In Death or Sairento.
This game is excellent for people who loved tossing quarters at Time Crisis or Police 911 and want that old-school feel back. You will get a workout, and it’s likely you’ll return. There are more intense workouts for the legs (like Holopoint) that have a built-in cardio aspect.
Social Competition 0/10
No leaderboards, no multiplayer. Just you and the authoritarian regime trying to take you down.
VRFI Score 7/10
Overkill VR isn’t trying to oversell itself. The formula is straightforward, gun play works well, and the waist-high cover works your legs. Upgrades and ranks give you a sense of progression and allow you to try out new weapons. Nothing here is groundbreaking, but there are fun challenges in trying to get every star on the map.
The sound design outside of the guns is lacking, and the voicework is best described as “simple”. While not as violent as Arizona Sunshine (where you can shoot half a zombie’s face off), this game is pretty violent. An option to tone that down, or turn off blood, would have been welcome. The UI has some troubles as well. It could be easier to view the requirements for each challenge, for instance, or to scroll through the map.
It appears support for this title has ended, so it’s not likely they will fix these issues, but the game is pretty stable.
We recommend Overkill for new VR fitness gamers looking for a shooter that challenges your body and your ability to hit targets, or experienced VR fitness gamers looking for a new shooter with strong replayability.