Acceleroto’s Zombie Training Simulator has received very little attention since its launch as a HTC Vive exclusive. Directly comparable to the likes of Raw Data, Arizona Sunshine and Bullet Train, Zombie Training Simulator is first out of the gate and sets a pretty high bar for those competing titles to follow.
The idea of the videogame is pretty simple. You’re preparing for the inevitable zombie apocalypse, training yourself in the ways of firearms and distraction techniques. In order to do so, a series of firing ranges have been set-up in a number of different locations and you are offered a selection of weapons and explosives to practice with. However, you also need targets. The zombies aren’t here yet, so how about some cardboard cutouts instead?
That doesn’t mean the targets are stationary, of course. The fake zombies scurry about rather hurriedly, charging towards the player in uncountable numbers as the waves increase in difficulty. However, a few chunks of meat are available to the player, which can be thrown into the range and automatically attract the hordes until they are destroyed. It doesn’t take long to learn that throwing a steak dinner next to an explosive barrel is a good tactic for taking out large numbers of enemies at once.
The weaponry the player is offered is decidedly limited at first: two pistols (heavy or fast) until the first 1,000 zombies have been killed. Progression continues in this fashion, asking the player to stick with what they’ve got until they have taken out enough fake zombies to progress to the next weapon. It’s a little disappointing that Acceleroto hadn’t thought of a more interesting reward system, as often you’ll unlock a new weapon only to find that the grind through the last 3,000 zombies hasn’t been worth it, and the previous weapon is actually preferred.
In Zombie Training Simulator the enemies can come at the player from a full 180 degrees, meaning that the viewpoint the player has demands constant spinning to ensure that they’re not being crept up on from behind. It’s a wonderful pacing once a few matches have been played, but can quite easily make the player dizzy after extended session; we’re not talking the dreaded simulator sickness here, just the same as if you’d be spinning in a circle for several minutes on end without being in a virtual world.
The fact that the videogame is stylistically simplistic some people may consider cheating – and to an extent it is – but the cartoonish aesthetic is pleasing to the eye in the same way as Cel Damage HD draws on cartoon violence, and doesn’t hinder the level of intimidation the player feels as one hundred undead foes charge straight towards them. And this is Zombie Training Simulator’s greatest strength: even though it’s a light-hearted affair that isn’t intended to scare the player, it will make you feel far more tense than the same videogame on a traditional 2D monitor ever could.