After spending a few years as a free title on App Lab, Pavlov Shack has finally seen a full official release on the Meta Quest store. It comes with a £14.99 price tag now, and whilst that might ruffle the feathers of those who’ve been enjoying it at no cost, it feels like very good value for money thanks to its rewarding gameplay and wealth of content.

Check out some screenshots down below:

Pavlov Shack is essentially a trimmed down version of the popular virtual reality shooter Pavlov, with players competing in teams of five to take down their opponents across a variety of game modes in first-person shooting action. Those game modes each bring something unique, whether it’s the conventional gameplay of Deathmatch and Team Deathmatch, the territorial play of King of the Hill, the progressive improvement of your weaponry in Gun Game, the suspenseful hunts of Infection, or hiding in plain sight in Prop Hunt, just to name a few. If you’ve played a cool game mode in a first-person shooter before, you’ll probably find it in Pavlov Shack too.

And if you don’t? There’s a good chance you’ll find it in the Mod Browser, which offers new game modes, maps, and other content. It’s incredible just how much content there is to play through, whether that’s when having shootouts across maps based on other titles (there are plenty of Call of Duty re-creations here), battling it out in McDonalds (seriously), or even having racing showdowns. The mod support for the game doesn’t only strengthen the core first-person shooting gameplay, but also adds whole new ways to experience what Pavlov Shack has to offer. I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s there, but with new content coming regularly, I’m excited to get stuck into more and more over the coming months.

If you don’t want to play around with mods, there’s plenty of official content too, with an abundance of maps to play across as well as a plethora of weapons to use. You’ve got pistols, rifles, SMGs, sniper rifles, and even World War II weaponry to go hands on with, whilst the manual reloading actions add to the immersion and bring an extra sense of realism to the experience. Admittedly, it can get a little fiddly when you’re in the middle of a manic shootout and just want to react quickly, but it’s something you get used to the longer you play.

“The tension is ramped up thanks to the immersion offered when playing in virtual reality, whilst physically aiming your gun, crouching behind cover, or moving out of the way of incoming enemies just adds to the thrill of the experience.”

And believe me, it won’t take long for Pavlov Shack to have you hooked in and putting those hours in. Whilst the gunplay and manoeuvrability doesn’t feel quite as slick as your typical first-person shooter (something that’s expected given that you’re playing in virtual reality), the excitement of seeking out rival players and then taking them out in a gunfight is unrivalled. The tension is ramped up thanks to the immersion offered when playing in virtual reality, whilst physically aiming your gun, crouching behind cover, or moving out of the way of incoming enemies just adds to the thrill of the experience. It’s really, really fun, especially when playing with friends who you can strategize with. Just be warned: much like Call of Duty lobbies, the voice chat can get unbearable when playing with strangers, so you might want to get that ‘mute’ button ready.

It’s also worth noting that there’s a bit of a learning curve to the game, especially when playing against experienced players who always feel quicker on the trigger. There’s a decent tutorial in place that’ll get players through all of the basics, but it took a few hours before I felt like I was competently racking up kills and making a positive effect in each game. You’d think it’d be as simple as just lining up shots and gunning down foes, but with different game modes offering varying objectives and strategies to utilise, it’ll take some time before you fully adjust to the experience.

If you DO want some practice before tackling multiplayer, there are solo options where you can face off against bots. Admittedly, it isn’t as enjoyable as competing against real-life players thanks to the dumb AI and lack of variety, but taking on bot soldiers or zombies is still satisfying in its own way. It teaches players how to handle the frantic scenarios they find themselves in and lets them play around with different weaponry to see what suits them, so it’s a good place to really get to grips with the game’s mechanics.

Check out some screenshots down below:

But honestly? It’s the multiplayer where you’ll have the most fun, especially when playing through the mods and seeing just how silly the experience can be. I haven’t even mentioned things like the driving, the vehicular weaponry (you can manually load up tanks to dish out some heavy damage), or the social deduction-based antics in the game’s TTT mode. Don’t know what TTT is? It’s hard to explain, but I’d DEFINITELY recommend checking it out a couple of times just to see how insane it can be – especially when playing with paranoid players…

Pavlov Shack is just a very easy game to recommend to virtual reality fans, especially those who love multiplayer action. And sure, you may have played it for free via App Lab already and might be a little disappointed that you’ve got to pay now, but given just how much content there is, it’s £14.99 well spent.

Pavlov Shack Review

Pavlov Shack offers virtual reality first-person shooting at its best, with the tense multiplayer shootouts and wealth of content sure to keep players glued to their headsets. There is a bit of a learning curve and it doesn’t have the fluidity of a conventional first-person shooter, but with its wonderful mods, abundance of game modes and weaponry, and enjoyable gunplay, it really feels like a must own title for Quest owners.

Developer: Vankrupt Games
Publisher: Vankrupt Games
Platform(s): Meta Quest 2 (Reviewed), Meta Quest 3