Sandbox VR: A totally immersive VR escape game where you shoot at zombies and ghost pirates

Curse of Davy Jones

In case you haven’t noticed, VR gaming is gaining a lot of traction locally. There’s a good reason – it combines a unique aspect of teamplay and immersive experience that makes you feel like you’re really in a haunted house, or on board a pirate ship. If you’ve watched Ready Player One or Tron, it’s a lot like stepping into the game yourself – you’ll even get to see your digitised self.

At Sandbox VR, you’ll get to play an escape game (ie. solve a clue within a set amount of time) and shoot at baddies while you’re at it. What makes Sandbox fully immersive is that it combines not only VR goggles, it also uses motion sensor technology to track your movements. And with their newer games, you’ll be wearing haptic vests.

Deadwood Mansion

The Setup

Upon arrival, you step into a green room that’s covered with motion sensor cameras, and strap into some heavy duty gear:

  • a backpack (carrying the processor)
  • VR goggles; glasses cannot be worn, but Sandbox provides a range of corrective lenses for their headsets
  • noise-cancelling gaming headphones with mic so you can communicate with teammates
  • motion capture attachments (two armbands, two ankle bands); in the game, it monitors your arm and leg movements so you can kick enemies too
  • a haptic vest (for Curse of Davy Jones option) which makes your gameplay really immersive as it translates every hit into vibrations direct to your body exactly where you were hit. If you’re ticklish, beware!

You’ll notice a range of guns, but you don’t get to use them… yet. Once your gameplay starts, you’ll notice that those white guns look really different in the VR world.

The Game

Like any escape game outfit, you have your choice of rooms – or in this case, games that you can play with up to 5 friends. New games are released every 5 months or so, so it keeps you coming back.

The first game Sandbox launched was Deadwood Mansion, which chucks you into a haunted house where you basically shoot at zombies and ghouls. The latest game aptly called ‘Curse of Davy Jones’ is all about pirates – complete with treasure boxes, a talking parrot, pirate ships, green ghouls, and a boatload of skeletal pirates that throw axes and sneak up behind you (and above you). That haptic vest you’re wearing will vibrate when you’re hit.

You play the game as one of the pirate characters, with a gun in hand (if you play the Captain, you’ll have an extra torch which you’ll use to complete a clue). Unlike many shooting games, you can actually kick the baddies – thanks to the motion sensors mounted on your legs.

One of the most interesting aspects of the game is in one scene where you feel as if you’re on the deck of a pirate ship with the ocean breeze in your face, which are actually courtesy of powerful fans mounted in the green room.

The level gets more difficult to finish the more players you add in – which is why the only teams who’ve successfully completed their games are 2-player teams. But if you’re up to the challenge, the game is definitely more fun when you have more buddies; you can shoot each other up as well, and watch as the most ticklish member writhe in agony!

About Sandbox VR

Born in Hong Kong, the company only started last year, but the advancements its made – with regards to the technology – has even attracted big names like IMAX. Launched not too long ago, the outfit is based in Orchard Central – and plans to expand across Singapore. There are 2 rooms available for booking (up to 4 and 6 players per room).

Post-game, you and your buddies have the chance to review the video highlights, and even share the clips on your socials.

Duration: 30 minutes (you’ll spend an hour there which includes 15 minutes of briefing and 15 minutes of post-game reviewing video highlights)

Prices: $29 per person (weekdays) ; $39 per person (weekend)

Check out Sandbox VR here.