Arizona Sunshine is one of the few fully-fledged games on the Oculus Quest and it’s also one of the most enjoyable zombie games on the Quest.
The Oculus Quest isn’t short of its zombie titles. If you are a lover of slaying flesh-hungry zombies, then there are already a number of titles on the Oculus Quest that will certainly scratch that itch; but there is a much bigger title that was still yet to make it on the Quest, a game that I felt was a little too out of reach to appear on the mobile VR headset, but to my surprise its developers Vertigo Games have risen to the challenge and delivered us Arizona Sunshine on to the Quest.
On entry into the game you find yourself in your trailer, that’s all boarded up to keep any zombies at bay. This trailer forms a kind of menu system to get into the game’s settings, solo and multiplayer campaigns and horde mode. Inserting the Campaign cartridge into the console I was soon whisked off, out into the outside world, ready to slay some zombies.
The solo campaign in Arizona Sunshine takes you through various locations of South-West America that’s overrun by zombies. After hearing another human on the radio, you realise that you are not the only survivor amongst the undead, and it is your goal to travel through the post-apocalyptic Grand Canyon state in search of the source of this radio transmission.
Travelling through this challenging new world of the undead is a dangerous task. Thankfully there are a number of weapons available that will help you dispose of the walking dead, who each shuffle and stumble their way around the baron world that you’re in. Letting any zombie near you will end up on them chomping on your flesh and reducing your health in the process, so your weapons, and more importantly, ammo, become crucial for your general survival.
You first begin your quest for survivors with a sultry pistol, but this soon develops onto shotguns and automatic rifles. Your holster belt allows up to four weapons to be carried at once, as well as being able to store a small number of grenades. Dropping your hands by your waist and pulling the grab buttons allow you to swap between weapons, and you can also swap weapons between each hand too if you prefer to dual-wield certain weapons in a particular hand.
Weapons and ammo are usually littered around the world, whilst ammo is most commonly stashed in green ammo crates. I found the shooting mechanic a little less forgiving than in other shooters, as it required you to really look down your weapon sights to be more precise. This unforgiving nature with aiming soon became a little disappointing very early on, but once I began to take my time to aim with the sights and go for the crucial headshot whilst up close, my shooting accuracy became more reliable, and overall, enjoyable.
As the story progresses, you get to explore abandoned locations above and below ground in dark locations such as mines. As I got more confident in my shooting prowess, I soon started to play around with the zombies. Unlike some other zombie titles on the Quest, this game isn’t on rails, meaning you get to choose where you wish to teleport to, and as a result, you can walk around the world, dodging zombies as you go. Every now and then you will find yourself defending yourself against a horde of zombies and it’s during these set pieces that get the heart racing, and where frustrating mistakes can be so easily made.
I found the weapon switching and reloading more of a nuisance than as it is helpful, with many deaths caused by its fumbling controls. When you’re being overtaken by over ten to twenty zombies at a time, the problems of reloading, monitoring your ammo and swapping between weapons all raise to the surface and create frustrations with the game. Whilst this issue only comes into effect during the rare, busy moments in the game, you can overcome this frustration and learn to live with it – until this issue raises to the surface again once the next horde comes running at you.
The general graphics and sound in Arizona Sunshine is just great. Its developers have done a great job at porting a rich and fairly open-world onto the portable Quest headset. Its untethered advantage helps when the heat is turned up and you have to take on zombies from every direction around you. The game’s voice acting is comical and the sounds of the shuffling and moaning zombies are all present just as you expect them to be.
Because weapons play a big part in Arizona Sunshine, it is good to note that they are also satisfying to hear and use. With over 25 different weapons to use, and 13 two-handed weapons recently announced in today’s new update, each weapon has their own tone and damage characteristics to them, which makes it a joy when you encounter a new weapon to test out. Unfortunately, I couldn’t drop any weapon I didn’t want to carry, you can only add to your holster and swap between the weapons that are attached to it.
If you have a buddy that also has an Oculus Quest, you can join up with them in the game’s multiplayer campaign mode, which allows you both to fend off the zombies throughout the full campaign. You can also join up to three other online buddies in the game’s Horde mode, which pits you against a series of zombie waves of increasing difficulty with scores being recorded on the online leaderboard.
For your £29.99 on the Oculus Store, Arizona Sunshine is a solid title in your Quest library. Amongst the many short-lived experiences on the Quest, there aren’t that many games like this at the moment that gives you the sense of being a fully-fledged game. In normal mode, you’ll get through the story mode in a few hours, but ramp up the difficulty or have a go at the instant death Apocalypse mode, and you will lengthen the game’s lifespan with its added difficulty. For me though, normal difficulty was just about right, and I had probably the most fun in any zombie game on the Quest.