We explored a fantasy world and battled zombies at VR gaming arena Zero Latency – here’s what it’s like

Zero Latency Singapore is making VR gaming even more immersive with its new gaming arena allowing for free-roaming multiplayer experiences.
Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Virtual reality (VR) gaming is gaining tremendous momentum and continues to revolutionise the entertainment world in ways once thought unimaginable.

With VR edging its way into the mainstream, players are being plunged ever more deeply into immersive experiences, where they truly become part of the action.

Say hello to Zero Latency Singapore, the country’s largest free-roaming multiplayer VR gaming arena and a key proponent of the local VR wave.

Hailing from Melbourne, Australia, Zero Latency was opened here by Tomorrow Entertainment, the company behind Singapore’s largest indoor trampoline park Bounce Singapore, on Nov 24.

Business Insider was invited to have our own VR experience at Zero Latency’s gaming arena at Suntec City Mall on March 29 and here’s what it was like battling zombies in a world ala science fiction film Ready Player One.


Finding our way to Zero Latency’s gaming arena was hardly a challenge with the company’s logo adorning the glass wall of the entrance.

In case that didn’t catch our eye, the standee cut-out of a man donning VR equipment and carrying a futuristic firearm guarding the entrance was a giveaway.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Customers need to register before starting their game session.

Right next to the reception counter are three tablets which you can use to input details such as your name and email address via a user-friendly interface.

Just like most online video games, customers get to decide their own player usernames to be used as their pseudonym during the game itself.

A full group typically consists of eight players but a complete party is not necessary to initiate a session, said our host David Lim, general manager of Tomorrow Entertainment.

Thankfully for us, we had a full team of eight enthusiastic players on our side.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

The facility has a rest area where players can chill over slightly over-priced snacks and drinks while waiting for their game session.

Visitors who wish to give the experience a miss – which they may regret afterwards – can also relax here while watching live updates of players’ scores on the screens provided.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Before we began our session, we attended an introductory safety briefing facilitated by one of the staff members.

Instructions on how to properly use the provided VR equipment, safety precautions and gaming tips are aplenty but do pay extra attention for pointers on how to achieve a sweet high score and a seamless experience.

Our facilitator told us we were going to play two 15-minute games – puzzle adventure game Engineerium and apocalyptic horror shooter Zombie Survival.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

After the briefing, it was time to gear up.

The list of equipment included the VR headset, headphones and a backpack carrying a high-performance gaming computer.

“Our recommended age to play is 13 years old and above because of the weight of the backpack and equipment,” said David.

And apparently so as we struggled a little to get decked out in our state-of-the-art yet admittedly bulky attire. Friendly staff was ready to provide assistance when required.

Business Insider/ Jonathan Loh

Once we were properly equipped, we stepped into the 2,200 sq ft game area which is basically an empty but spacious black room that’s bigger than an average five-room apartment.

It was all systems go when our facilitator “transported” us into a surreal VR game lobby with everyone instantly bewildered by the sudden plunge into alternate reality, evident by our cringe-worthy reactions.

Visual and audio warnings delivered via the headsets and headphones proved to be incredibly useful in helping us avoid embarrassing collisions – for the most part.

 

Our facilitator then brought us straight into the Mayan civilisation-inspired fantasy world of Engineerium.

This game’s objective was to navigate our way through a gravity-defying environment while avoiding pitfalls and, well, vertigo.

We walked among flamboyant flying whales and parrot rays, accompanied by soothing music and the occasional shriek of someone almost losing his or her footing. The struggle it seemed, was real.

 

When we had emerged from Engineerium alive and well – both in VR and in real life – the stakes were raised to a ridiculously high level with our next game being Zombie Survival.

As the name suggests, the team had to fend off hordes of zombies of various types to stay alive long enough for rescue to arrive.

The good news: We had infinite lives at our disposal.

We were also equipped with the intimidating Tavor TAR-21 lookalike weapon controller which granted four weapon types at the press of a button.

I stuck with the classic and trusty shotgun.

 

Teamwork was crucial to ensuring overall success but the high score system added a much appreciated competitive touch to our zombie-killing endeavour.

Here’s what it looks like from our point of view.

 

The introductory price for a session is S$59 (US$45) per person while the usual rate is S$69 per person. 

Our verdict: It might seem a little pricey for a short game but a once-in-a-lifetime VR experience of this magnitude is seriously worth considering for your next bonding activity.