For all you Fallout/Bioshock fans out there with your finger to the pulse, you’ve likely seen the trailer for Atomic Heart. This is a standalone VR teaser for that.
For those of you not so in the loop because you’ve been rock climbing in South America or romancing beautiful people at trendy music events, Atomic Heart is an upcoming alternate history adventure FPS set in a terrifying robot/zombie Soviet Union.
The reason I’m mentioning Atomic Heart so much is that Soviet Lunapark VR serves less as a standalone experience and more of a playable VR trailer: A wave survival slideshow of environments and objects that are designed to entice the salivating fandom. And while it’s functional and interesting, it’s far from perfect.
Excluding the wandering around there are 6 things to do in Soviet Lunapark. See the showroom (which has a couple of disturbing/funny scenes), do some plumbing in the blood sewer, ride the train, fight a giant clown, whack Hitler moles, and shoot seagulls.
The first four are zombie survival with a bit of faffing around at the start that, excluding the displays in the showroom, don’t really add anything. Each level is restricted to a very small play space that you can teleport around within with enemies coming from all sides. Which is tense but short lived with most levels only lasting around 5 minutes before throwing up the scoreboard and dumping you unceremoniously back in the beach front lobby (Which is fairly attractive in a Soviet ruin-porn kind of way).
As you wander around the beachfront, looking at the various set pieces, half buried robots, and non-interactable switches you’ll come across a minigame that by all rights should be fun; Hitler whack-a-mole. Little animatronic Hitler moles pop up and down and you whack them with a big ol’ sledgehammer. But unfortunately something has gone deeply wrong with the collision detection in SLP and physically getting closer to an object will push you further away in a misguided attempt to prevent you clipping through. This means that the back row of the whack-a-mole was physically impossible to reach. I still hear their taunting Nazi squeaks.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get any multiplayer games on the go as while there were other players, it was near impossible to hold a conversation as the music was always louder. Trying to invite someone to play felt like shouting at imaginary friends in a silent disco.
However, due to a lull in the soundtrack I did at one point hear another player running away with a sex doll shouting “she’s my girlfriend. MY GIRLFRIEND!”, which made me chuckle.
Graphically Soviet Lunapark is nothing to write home about as it strives for a photorealistic graphic style and in VR, with my shitty computer, that graphic style needs kneecapped. Defaulted to low with faces that wouldn’t look out of place in a Steam direct survival FPS. For now though, I lay the blame of that directly on my hardware.
Stylistically though Soviet Lunapark induces some fresh terror in me. The infected personnel of the Soviet base for some reason vary from guards to officers to the creepiest clowns I’ve seen in a video game as far back as memory serves. The robots of the alternate history USSR are chunky and murderous with cute little feet and massive buzzsaws for mouths and as much as I want to pet the little guy I also want to run screaming. So, yeah. Stylistically and from a world building point of view, Soviet Lunpark has the same surreal charm and horror as Atomic Heart. Heck, even having people bend over backwards to crawl inside themselves doesn’t seem out of place.
If you’re incredibly psyched for Atomic Hearts and just happen to own a virtual reality headset, or if you’re running really low on games and want something shooty, then Soviet Lunapark VR is at least fun. Price, however, will tell if it’s worth it.
Soviet Lunapark VR is available on Steam HERE