COLD VR Demo review: a promising adrenaline action game

Today I’ve tried the free demo of COLD VR, the VR game that is the opposite of Superhot VR (hence the joke of the name). I think this game is fun and has a lot of potential, but it needs a bit more of polish to become a true hit when the full version will be released. Discover why in this review of the free preview demo that is available on Steam.

(Before starting reading, remember that this is a review of a demo preview of the game, so many of its negative aspects may be fixed by the team before the final release)


Typical adrenaline action in COLD VR

The gameplay of COLD VR is very similar to the one of Superhot VR: some low-poly blue-colored men are evil and try to kill you by shooting you, stabbing you, punching you, or whatever, and you have to kill them before they harm you. Both you and the enemies die on contact: this means that if they shoot you once, you are dead, and the level restarts, and if you even just touch them (or shoot them back), they break in thousands of pieces as if they were made of glass. Shooting and being shot is the classical gameplay of any action shooter game, but there is one thing that makes this game special, and it is time warping.

In Superhot VR, time is almost static when you are still and it goes on when you move. This creates a gameplay that goes on in bursts of actions: you kill a few buddies, then you stop for a second to think about your next moves, then you kill other ones, and so on. It is pretty cool and that’s why Superhot VR is one of the most-played VR games out there. In COLD VR, instead, time goes slowly while you move, and goes at normal speed when you are still.

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Look: when I move, the fan goes slowly, when I stop, it goes fast. The fan is not changing its speed, time is (click on the video to open it in a new tab if it is frozen)

This makes for gameplay that is a continuous source of action: you have to keep moving if you don’t want to die. The fact is that if you stop moving even just for a second, you are almost surely going to be shot because the bots are quite fast and the bullets are directed straight at you. So the only way to survive is to move and go on in every moment so that the time slows down and you can dodge the bullets. You are a bit like Bender in that episode of Futurama where he needs to keep moving and partying or he will explode: in the beginning, this is fun, but on the long run it may be a bit annoying.

If you are a man of culture like me, you remember this episode

The moment you enter the action, you have to keep moving, shooting, dodging bullets without any possibility of stopping, if not for some rare moments in which you can keep cover behind some crates or walls. This offers gameplay full of adrenaline: if you like action games like me, you are going to have fun with this because the action can be intense.

I have to admit that at the beginning, the game was very complex for me to play. The tutorial teaches you the controls pretty well but doesn’t prepare you at all for the real battle, so when the first level started, I needed a good 15 minutes to beat it (you can see it from the video below). This is because in the beginning, I didn’t see that I could grab a gun, then I tried a few times to take some pauses during the action by stopping moving, and I died every time. When I started to get a grasp on it, I started dying too many times by the shot of the enemies after the first jump. When I managed to kill a good number of enemies, I sometimes fell from the floor to death. I was getting very frustrated, also because after every death I had to restart the level from the start. Only after this real training on the battlefield, I learned how to play the game, and I was able to win the other levels with much more ease.

cold vr action game
Killing a few bad violet guys in COLD VR (Image by ALLWARE LLC)

I think this game requires much better calibration than Superhot because as I’ve said, you have no time to think: once you start, you must keep going. And while you keep running all the time, you have no way to see the bullets coming to you from all the directions, you are just focused on running towards your next enemy to kill. And you must be careful of the timing of the shots: if you are close to an enemy the moment he is going to shoot, you will die almost for sure. So sometimes you have to start moving zig-zag left-to-right for a few seconds until the enemy in front of you shoots, then you can try attacking him while he reloads. You have literally not much time to think, this game is full of tension. But this means it can also become frustrating when you have a lot of enemies in the room who shoot a lot of bullets, but you can’t mentally handle all of them, because you have to keep moving. And sometimes while you move so much continuously to the left and to the right, you fall down from the path and you die, which is very frustrating. In the demo I think some levels are better calibrated than the others: for instance, the last level was a lot of fun: it was not easy, it was challenging, but it was fair. (By the way, I suspect this game has been funded by the lobby of the thumbstick: since you have to keep moving left-right, you stress a lot the thumbsticks of your controllers, until they break and you are forced to pay to fix them…)

Every level features at least one weapon you are provided: there are both guns (with a limited number of bullets, so you have to manage them carefully) and swords of various types (which have little difference between them). It seems you can not take the weapons of the enemies, so you can rely only on the ones the game gives to you. Since the enemies die on contact, you can also kill them by throwing the weapons (e.g. you finish the ammo in your gun and you throw it to the next enemy), but I have to warn you that throwing is a bit junky and things tend to have a shorter parable than you would hope for. I know that implementing throwing in VR is very complex, but I think the devs should work on it because this is an important mechanic of the game. If you are without weapons, you can still use your punches, but it’s not easy because as I’ve said, if the enemies shoot at you when you are close, you are almost surely dead. The weapons in the demo were different at every level, but they were not always clearly visible… sometimes you have to examine the environment a bit to find where they are (not easy when you keep running the whole time).

One last element that I forgot to tell you until now is that there are also some platforms that if you step on them make you jump. They add dynamism to the game, but sometimes they are tricky to handle because they make you jump straight towards an enemy that starts immediately shooting at you.

Jumping towards an instant death

The game has also a story, that is told via some video calls that a hacker is having with you. It’s something that is not that relevant: it’s about an AI that wants to take control of humanity, so you have to enter the simulation of Cold VR and try to destroy its code. The blue low-poly humans that try to kill you are controlled by the AI that is trying to stop you. And if you die in the simulation you don’t die in real life… but every death adds some damage to your brain, so if you die too much in the simulation, you become a potato in real life. Honestly speaking, the story was not that interesting for me. But sometimes the video gave me hints about the upcoming levels: for instance, the guy in the video warned me that in a future level I could not kill the enemies but just run away from them and so I was prepared for it.

COLD VR hacker story
The hacker you speak with throughout the game (Image by ALLWARE LLC)

In total, there were 6 levels plus the tutorial and I needed less than one hour to clear all of them. The levels were all similar, with the exception of one that it was less about shooting and more about running and finding the exit door. You can see my first 25 minutes of gameplay (included my many deaths on the first level) in the video below:

Graphics and sounds

One of the highlights of the games has been for me the multimedia elements. The visual style of the game is very cyberpunk (which fits well the story) and features a lot of bright fluo elements. There are some crude sentences written around the environment. The atmosphere looks like it’s a bit sad and dangerous, a bit like if everything was controlled by an evil mastermind. The visual elements are also a bit glitchy, and for instance, some props in the environment are substituted by their neon wireframe version. When you die or win a level, you see the screen filling with letters, like in The Matrix. I liked the visuals of the game. And being low-poly they could be easily transferred to Quest.

The graphics of the game are well-studied and executed (Image by ALLWARE LLC)

The sound is good, too. The soundtracks of the levels communicate action, tension, and melancholy. And they are electronic music, which fits the cyberpunk lore of the game.

All multimedia elements are well-made and coherent to give you a specific mood that fits well with the game. In this demo, there are still some glitches, though: for instance, at a certain point in the first intro level I had a piece of the room that looked like visible only from one eye.


The controls of the game are similar to many other action VR games:

  • With the left thumbstick, you move
  • With the right thumbstick, you snap-rotate
  • With the grip of both controllers, you can grab a weapon
  • With the trigger of both controllers, you can fire with the weapon you hold in the respective hands
  • With the Y button, you return to the main menu

The Y button is a bit of a problem: while I was halfway through the tutorial I pressed it and it kicked me out to the main menu without any warning and I had to re-do the whole tutorial. Maybe a confirmation dialog would be ideal.

The movement in the game is just continuous because teleporting would make little sense (you would just dodge all bullets by teleporting).

Ah, and before I forget: on the first screen, when the game asks you to press “L3”, you are requested to press the thumbstick.


cold vr killing enemies virtual reality
Slashing enemies feels satisfying… but actually, it’s more practical to just touch them to kill them (Image by ALLWARE LLC)

Talking about feeling immersed in a low poly glitchy environment makes little sense because it is obvious that it is not a realistic world you can be in. But still, since the game requires you to keep moving and always be in tension, and it has very well-made multimedia elements that make you feel inside “the matrix”, I think it puts you in a flow where you start feeling part of this world. So it gives you some sense of presence… not the highest one I ever had, but still a cool one.


Since the game requires you to keep moving with continuous locomotion and it also features jump platforms, it is not the most comfortable game out there. It is also true that playing it I didn’t have any sensation of sickness, probably because I was too focused on winning the game, and also the devs may have reduced the accelerations of the player to reduce the motion sickness. So I would put it into the “moderate” comfort category: it should be ok for most VR players with the exception of newbies and people that are sensitive to motion sickness.

I have to warn you that this review of comfort regards how the game should be. The present version of the demo has glitches that freeze the visuals when you die and this is highly uncomfortable. But I imagine this can be easily fixed by a fade to black before changing scene, so I’m not worried for the final version of the game.

Who wants some action? (Image by ALLWARE LLC)

Price and availability

COLD VR is just available as a free demo on Steam. If you liked the demo, you can wishlist the full game which is going to be released in 2024.

Final impressions

I think that COLD VR is a pretty cool game (pun intended). It features an original mechanic that keeps you in tension for the whole duration of each level. It is challenging and this makes you stay in the flow. And the story, together with the visuals and the audio, makes you feel inside this cyberpunk world that seems destined to be controlled by an evil AI. There are all the ingredients of a good game, here. But the team has still to polish a bit some parts of the game, and especially calibrate better the difficulty of each level so as not to be too frustrating.

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