Review: Time Zombies VR Attraction at Knotts Scary Farm 2018

Are you brave enough to go face-to-face with Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies? Come along with us - if you dare!
Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies VR Attraction Review
Time Zombies Haunted VR Attraction

Travel through time to an abandoned necropolis, where the dead not only walk - they run! The new Time Zombies VR Attraction - which will be available during the 2018 Knotts Berry Farm Halloween Haunt - is no mere virtual walk-through. It puts you in the middle of the action, under siege, with only a laser blaster and your trigger finger standing between you and gruesome death at the hands of the undead horde. The experience is an exhilarating blast of virtual reality, with exciting graphics, animation, and game-play.

Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies VR Attraction Review: The Basics

Produced by VRStudios, Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies will take the place of the VR Showdown In Ghost Town in the Boardwalk Arcade, near Knott's western entrance, during the weeks of the 2018 Halloween Haunt. The reception area features what looks like a time ray dangling from the ceiling, along with a chalkboard full of equations and depictions of wormholes. The name "Welles" is prominently displayed (apparently a nod to H.G. Wells, the author of The Time Machine, though spelled like filmmaker Orson Welles).

Eventually, a lab assistant takes you down a long hallway and into one of several rooms where you don your equipment. Time Zombies Haunted VR Attraction is a two-player game, with each player given a headset and a pistol. Inside the virtual world, your partner resembles a legless hovering robot; all you can see of yourself is your handgun.

The game is playable in two modes, Easy and Hard. Either way, you find yourself transported to what looks like an open-air courtyard surrounded by crumbling brick buildings on all four sides. The settings are rendered in nicely detailed computer-generated imagery, painted in atmospheric nighttime shadows. The walls are dotted with doorways and openings, making it difficult to determine the avenue of attack.

The haunted VR attraction offers a wireless virtual experience, allowing a free range of movement throughout the virtual arena (actually, a carpeted area taking up most of the room). However, with the zombies running at you, there is little reason to move except to dodge when they get too close. Otherwise, just stand and fire.

Knotts Scary Time Zombies VR Attraction Review: Game Play

Time Zombies starts slowly. At first, nothing happens as you scan the surrounding walls, anticipating attack. Eventually, a zombie appears, moving slowly - and then another, from the same general direction. Moving slowly, they are easy targets - picked off at a safe distance.

Then the zombies start coming faster, in groups of threes and four instead of one or two at a time. Sometimes they line up in procession, one after the other, disguising their numbers, so that killing one reveals another immediately behind it, followed by another, each one acting as s shield for those behind it.

Even worse, the early attacks, which come from the same general direction, are misleading. Soon, zombies are coming at you from behind, taking you by surprise and overwhelming you before you can react.

The most effective solution is to play back-to-back with your partner, each cover one direction. During lulls on your side of the action, do not be tempted to turn around and help your comrade-in-arms, no matter how much shooting your hear from behind. Stay focused on the next attack, which will come, faster and more furious than before. If your nerves are steady and your aim is true, you may survive to the end of the siege.

Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies VR Attraction Review: Conclusion
Knotts Scary Farm Virtual Reality Arcade reception area
The time machine in the reception area

The virtual reality world of Time Zombies is rendered in picturesque detail; more importantly, it is clear and immersive, without any vertigo-inducing glitches or wobbly shimmer, no matter how much you bob and weave as the zombies swarm toward you.

The zombie animation is nicely done, though any character detailing is lost in the heat of the moment, as all your attention is focused on blasting the attackers, not admiring how well designed they are. Especially nice are peripheral glimpses of hands, arms, and faces if the zombies manage to overwhelm you from behind. The effect is disconcerting without causing the sort of eye-strain that used to accompany 3D films that threw objects into audience's faces.

Not being experts in this field, we cannot speak to how well the Knotts Scary Farm Time Zombies VR Attraction stacks up to similar virtual reality experiences, but it is more than good enough to thrill the average Halloween fan seeking a change-of-pace from the physical effects and scares of the Knotts Scary Farm mazes.

Those mazes are the reason, first and foremost, that we come to Knotts Scary Farm every Halloween. Our focus is so narrow that it takes something pretty incredible for the other haunted attractions to catch our attention, especially if we have to pay extra. The cost for Time Zombies is $5 - and worth every penny. We will be traveling time to face the zombies again when the annual Halloween Haunt opens on September 20.

Photos copyright 2018 Warren So

Time Zombies Haunted Virtual Reality Attraction Rating

Bottom Line

Not being experienced gamers, we do not feel qualified to say that Time Zombies is as good as virtual reality games can possibly be, so we are limiting are rating to 4.5 stars. Personally, we had a five-star experience. Highly recommended.

Note: Hollywood Gothique sampled the Time Zombies virtual reality attraction at the August 30 press preview of Knotts Scary Farm 2018.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.