Busy shooting zombies with my buddies.
Virtual reality gaming just got a lot more realistic, thanks to the addition of touch for feedback.
Guns blazing, my squad of five fire our weapons at the zombie horde that poured in through the main door of our mansion. We're so focused on our task, we fail to notice a bunch sneaking up behind us until I feel their claws swiping at my back.
Shouting out in panic, I turn around to deal with the new threat, blasting away. But before I can deal with them, I feel another vicious swipe. this time an uncomfortable buzz at the front of my chest. It finishes me off, turning me translucent. Luckily, a buddy comes over, puts his hand on my shoulder and brings me back to life.
No, this didn't all happen in my imagination. I was wearing a pair of VR goggles, with a laptop on my back and a haptic vest that could deliver sensations from inside the game, much like the VR suits worn in the movie, Ready Player One.
Located at the Orchard Central mall in Singapore's shopping belt, Sandbox VR's immersive semi-free roaming experience is one to try, especially if you're a fan of shooters or escape room experiences.
There are two games you can play, each lasting around 30 minutes. Deadwood Mansion is a squad-based shooter where you defend your territory against a horde of zombies, much like in Left 4 Dead 2. It features unique monsters that can charge as you and a big boss that requires a bit of strategy to kill. There are also environmental hazards you have to watch out for.
The Curse of Davy Jones is an escape room adventure where you play as pirates. But unfortunately I didn't have time to try it. I'll hopefully be back to check it out soon, and will update the article when I've given it a go. I do know this much: you're a treasure hunter and there's probably swashbuckling involved.
While SAndbox VR is similar to Zero Latency, a free-roaming VR experience I previously tried out, there's not much free roaming space. But you can walk around within the confines of the room and see where your buddies are, thanks to trackers attached to your hands and legs.
You'll have to carry a notebook on your back for about 30 minutes, but once you're in the game, you'll hardly feel the weight.
The really cool thing is the haptic vest. It really makes it more immersive, and you can feel the action on your body. Perhaps in the future we'll even see full haptic suits.
There are cameras mounted all around the room to keep track of the action. The system automatically records an intro video as well as gameplay moments that will be sent to you afterwards, and which can be posted to social media. So make sure you don't do or say anything inappropriate, as you'll look really silly on camera later on.
The Sandbox VR experience isn't limited to Singapore. There are franchises in Los Angeles, New York, Bangkok and Hong Kong. If you've never tried VR before, this is probably a good one to start with. You'll be impressed by how realistic it is.