Review – Gorn (PSVR)

I was eagerly awaiting for Devolver to release a console virtual reality game for them to finally dominate every single sector in the indie game industry. They have already released remasters of retro cult hits, high-budget shooters, single-player masterpieces, multiplayer masterpieces, dumb fun games, serious works of art, a Game of Thrones game, and everything else in between. The PSVR version of Gorn just further cements the company’s reputation as a jack of all trades, not only on their segment, but in the entire gaming industry. True to their fantastic curation skills, Gorn is a fantastic VR game that doesn’t take itself seriously and manages to entertain for hours on end.

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This mace is so… flaccid…

In Gorn, you once again take control of the greatest protagonist in VR gaming history, the brave pair of floating hands. This time around, you’re a prisoner/slave forced to continuously fight to death in gladiatorial matches for the entertainment of a despotic ruler who clearly doesn’t know how to speak proper English, making every single of his lines of dialogue a hilarious blast as a result. You fight wave after wave after wave of dumb grunts until you either finish the entire run or run out of blood. In short, it’s a VR battle arena, which might not sound like the most entertaining premise out there, but boy oh boy does it manage to deliver.

You can use a wide assortment of melee weapons in order to kill your opponents in the goriest of ways, as well as your bare hands, if you have to punch them while clenching your fists. You attack them by simply swinging your PS Move controllers onto them, as if you were actually trying to murder someone with a bloody mace. Thanks to the intentionally wacky physics, decent responsiveness, goofy art style, ragdoll-style animations, and the ludicrous amounts of blood and gore, flailing your arms around like a lunatic in order to kill everyone in front of you is unbelievably fun. Gorn is also extremely replayable, as its gameplay loop just never gets old. You will always kill a foe in a different, yet equally hilarious, way.

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Nobody can beat these magical floating fists!

Another thing that impressed me in Gorn is how good it is as a means of physical exercise. Just like in Creed: Rise to Glory, this is a game in which you will only manage to survive if you keep moving your body in order to kill enemies. You, the physical player, are the one throwing punches, swinging your nunchuks, flailing your arms around like it’s a rave in the middle of a bloody colosseum. It’s not the borderline substitute for muay thai sessions like Creed is, but you can easily burn a few calories per round. And given how fun and replayable Gorn is, you will play a lot of rounds.

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Hey buddy, no hard feelings!

Not everything is perfect, though. Gorn does have one annoying flaw, and sadly, it’s something that is pretty common in most games that use the Move controllers: moving your character around. Gorn is not a static game: you’re supposed to move around the arena and pay attention to your surroundings. You can walk forwards or backwards by holding the Move button and moving your arm to the desired direction, but you can only properly turn the camera by using the face buttons. This isn’t exactly an issue at first, but once you reach later levels, you won’t have access to quick and easy movement techniques to make you turn around completely, and that can occasionally result in a few unfair deaths.

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Bring it on, Bruce!

You may look at Gorn gameplay footage and think it’s nothing special, but this is one of the most entertaining VR games I’ve played in a long time. Killing these intentionally janky barbarians is not only a cathartic way to have fun in VR, but also a great way to burn some calories without ever thinking that you’re working out. You’ll finish a Gorn session sweating like a pig in a sauna and smiling like a kid who just got a brand new video game on Christmas morning. It’s basically the best of both worlds.

 

Graphics: 8.0

It’s somewhat simplistic, but it gets the job done due to a strong sense of style, tons of gore, and some hilarious ragdoll animations. It’s intentionally stupid.

Gameplay: 8.5

The combat mechanics all revolve around flailing your arms around like a lunatic. It works perfectly in a way you can only understand by actually experiencing. With that being said, the movement mechanics are hindered due to the PS Move’s limited amount of inputs.

Sound: 8.0

The sound department revolves around barbaric chants, crowd cheers, a few characters speaking in a caveman-ish manner, and gory sound effects. It’s very good for what the game is supposed to provide.

Fun Factor: 10

Not only is Gorn incredibly fun, over-the-top, and immensely replayable, but it can also double as a cathartic and ultra-violent workout session. It’s basically the best of both worlds.

Final Verdict: 9.0

Gorn is available now on PSVR and PC.

Reviewed on PSVR.

A copy of Gorn was provided by the publisher.

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