What is Gorilla Tag, and how did the VR game get so popular?


Gorilla Tag has taken VR gaming by storm, and those unfamiliar may wonder how the game got so popular. 

VR gaming is in a weird spot right now. Innovative titles like Half-Life: Alyx and its potential sequel prove that VR gaming can match AAA experiences. Not only that, the inherent novelty of VR means it will always have a core audience of enthusiasts ready and willing to try the latest technologies. However, the cost of entry into VR gaming remains steep for most gamers

But for every Half-Life: Alyx and its potential sequel, dozens of shovelware titles barely capable of running in VR exist. That’s set to get worse with companies like PlayStation divesting from VR gaming and Twitch inventing new rules to punish VR-focused streamers.

The lack of exciting games means some people still believe VR isn’t worth the price of admission. However, a recent title that exploded in popularity may have changed people’s minds.

What is Gorilla Tag?

Gorilla Tag is a multiplayer VR game where people play as “monkes” in a hectic game of tag.

The game utilizes the physical aspect of VR to its fullest, with movement controls solely tied to players’ hands and arms. The experience will work up a sweat but makes for a dynamic and uniquely mobile VR experience.

The game has four modes, each with unique mechanics. Gorilla Tag’s default game mode is Infection, wherein a player is randomly selected as the lava monke. The lava monke must then tag and turn others into lava monkes until everyone is tagged. If there are fewer than four players, the game will simply be a normal tag. 

Hunt requires at least four players. The mode assigns each player with another player, who they must tag to win. At the same time, they must avoid being tagged themselves, lest they turn into ice monkes who solely exist to slow down other players. The match ends when only two hunters remain.

Paintbrawl gives players slingshots loaded with paint pellets. The goal is to pop the balloons of other players. The game ends when only one player has balloons left. Finally, Casual mode has no objectives and exists solely as a playground and social hub for Gorilla Tag players.

Much like Roblox, Gorilla Tag also has a thriving custom map scene, which allows kids to create impressive levels of their own to traverse in. The simplicity, charming humor, and engaging gameplay made Gorilla Tag one of the most popular VR games in recent years. 

Gorilla Tag hit a milestone of 1 million players daily and 3 million active monthly players in June 2024.

The game also generated $100 million in revenue, making it one of the most successful VR titles ever. Gorilla Tag accomplished this feat despite being a free-to-play title. Developer Another Axiom revealed the average player spends around an hour playing Gorilla Tag. The impressive player count has attracted the attention of some industry leaders in VR. 

John Carmack, the iconic lead programmer of Doom and former CTO of Oculus VR, praised the game’s success on social media. Carmack pushed hard for more innovation in the VR space, and the success of Gorilla Tag justifies that mentality. With Gorilla Tag continuing to grow, casual VR gaming may become even bigger in the near future. 

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Written by Gab Hernandez

Gab Hernandez has a particular love for video games that give players control over the narrative direction, such as Divinity: Original Sin 2 and Disco Elysium. Gab spends just as much time playing games as they do gushing about them online to anyone who will listen. Their work has also been seen on TheGamer, Gfinity, and Wargamer, and you can follow them on Twitter / X at @HardlyWorkinGab.

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