Killing Floor: Incursionis an Oculus Touch exclusive co-op horror shooter fromTripwire Interactive, the makers of the Killing Floor franchise. Tripwire refers to it as a ‘horde shooter’ instead of wave shooter per say, as the zombies that populate the world come right up to you en masse in giant hordes much like the other Killing Floorgames, that and you aren’t constrained by ‘hot spots’ like many wave shooters in the VR genre tend to be. This means you can teleport around a gaggle of screaming and gurgling monsters, find ammo, guns and health all the while landing decisive head shots.

I stepped into the demo with another journo, the renowned Sean Hollister from CNET. In-game comms weren’tworking due to a momentary bug in the particular build, but with only a partition between us we were able to effectively give each other orders and divvy out ammo and health packs we found easily enough.

Teleporting aroundadilapidated facility of some sort, we were instructed by afloating robot instructor to grab our flashlights which were neatly attached to a holster on our chests so we could shootwhile not physically holding it. Taking the light from its holster, we switched it to a virus-sensing mode that would reveal the game’s plague. As mercenaries, our job is to cleanse all instances of the virus, so every time wefinda glowing red blob on the wall weshot it on sight.

Traveling via elevator, we finda vast cavern system. Passingover a land bridge we get an eye-full of a massive drop, awe-inspiringin its own right were there not thehorrific cries of zombies coming from the cavern below. Descending further, we enter a skull-encrusted catacomb, the site that would soon become the stage for the demo’s frightening introduction to close-quarters combat.

Back-to-back, Hollister and I shot down hundreds of zombies, some of them floor-crawling nightmares and others upright with slick, oily skin. And there are a multitude of ways to execute the hordes; exploding their heads with dual Colt 1911 pistols or a single pump shotgun, cutting it clean off with a large fireman’s ax, or even beating the monsters with their own bloodied, detached limbs. Or you can do like me and shoot wildly and pistol whip them when they get too close. That works too.

In this particular demo we were given holster space for two pistols on our sides and two larger weapons on our backs. Holtsering and unhostering was mostly a snag-free experience, although I did get tripped up a few times during more taxing stages of our trek into the zombie-filled cave.The game is currently in alpha stage development, so changes can be expected beforeits release later this year.

A constant problem I came up against was more niggling than any gurgling mess I encountered in the game though. Maintaining a forward-facing position was a constant struggle even though the game gives you several visual cues including a arrow on the ground to keep you facing the Rift/Touch’s two stock positional sensors. Because the game throws zombies at you from every corner imaginable, you’re urged to use a 45 degree snap-turn instead of turning around physically in the play space, something I found near impossible to resist when things got hairy. While this means you can technically play sitting down in a non-swivel chair, I imagine a third (or fourth) sensor would resolve this issue entirely for users that prefer standing and turning naturally.

Puzzles we encountered were fairly standard, but did require constant attention to each room’s architecture. Meeting a giant blue force field blocking forward progress usually means there’s something still important to do in the previous areas. Eg. an empty platform in one room and a few crystal skulls in another.

Another important mechanism, reloading, was also a bit different from other VR shooters. Running out of ammo means waiting either a full 2 seconds for your next magazine to automatically slide out and a new one to pop in (way too much time when you’re getting mobbed). Either that, or you can anticipate your next dry magazine by pressing a bespoke reload button on the Touch controller. Ammo is limited and ammo counters are clearly marked, so when you’re out, you’ll be reduced to using your ax (or a zombie’s wayward limb).

Making it to the base of the circuitous underground lair, we found a giant boss zombie outfittedwitha strange glowing chest piece and a whole zombie posse waiting for us.Charging right for us, we nimbly teleported around the boss-something that felt a little cheaty if it weren’t for the massive number of his goonsmaterializing in the cavern around us. And that’s where we died and were unceremoniously returned to the beautiful non-zombie reality of Oculus’ offsite GDC press booth.

Currently in alpha, Killing Floor: Incursionis slated to release some time this fall.

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image courtesy Tripwire Interactive
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image courtesy Tripwire Entertainment
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image courtesy Tripwire Entertainment