Bonelab Review: Does the Biggest VR Game Release Live Up to the Hype?

Contel Bradford
3 min readNov 23, 2022

Per usual, there’s a video of this review on the YouTube.

I think it’s fair to say that Bonelab was one of the most highly anticipated VR releases in the industry’s short history. When factoring in the post-release aftermath, it may be among the most talked about as well.

The consensus on Bonelab ranges from “WOW dude, this is the greatest game ever” to “it’s such a disappointment, man.”

As usual, my opinion falls somewhere in the middle. But we’ll hold off on that for now. Let’s dive into what this polarizing VR simulation brings to the table, shall we?

The Bonelab Experience

Bonelab delivers everything served up in its highly acclaimed predecessor, Boneworks, and more … well, for the most part. You’ve got yet another campaign that attempts to chronicle its convoluted story as well as various ways to play the game. For instance, there are highly customizable sandbox environments, fight-friendly arenas, and a handful of experimental areas I’ve yet to even explore. Whether you want to unravel the mystery of the campaign or dink and dally around this fantastical universe, there’s plenty of content to be had.

Developer Stress Level Zero also put emphasis on tighter centralization; just making the game and its many layers easier to navigate. A prime example can be seen in the Bonelab Hub. This streamlined space is where you’ll find the aforementioned sandboxes, arenas, and other areas available for exploration. As usual, there’s much more to Bonelab than meets the eye, so I’m sure I’ve missed a few secrets that are either crucial to the story, or just cool to play with.

Bonelab Mods

The enhanced focus on centralization extends to Bonelab modding, which as you might expect, is a big part of the overall experience. Given that the game has only been out a short time (as of this writing), the number of mods already released into the wild is nothing short of impressive. Guns, maps, avatars and so much more are up for grabs.

Getting said mods up and running is a tad trickier. The video below outlines one of two Bonelab mod installation methods. Good luck!

Once successfully installed, mods can be enabled from the main menu and plugged into the game from various locations within Bonelab. For instance, you can fire up custom maps from the Mods section in the Bonelab Hub, and implement weapons, enemies, and other spawnable items from supported levels.

Bonelab Shortcomings

The biggest Bonelab complaint I’ve seen thus far is that it doesn’t really bring anything new to the table. That it’s basically Boneworks ported to (Oculus) Meta Quest 2 in native form. The sassier critics have gone on to call it ‘Boneworks 1.5’. I kinda agree with that sentiment.

The core components from Boneworks to Bonelab are largely the same. The AI is still goofy AF. Enemies are mindless drones, who spend more time tripping over the ground than posing any sort of threat beyond strength in numbers. Melee combat is still clunky at best. In fact, the melee physics pale in comparison to Hard Bullet, another VR game that thrives on simulated violence, yet does it considerably better.

And that’s what makes Bonelab somewhat of a disappointment. The game is already extremely violent, so why not go all out with decapitation, limb dismemberment and other realistic combat wounds? I guess that’s the big mystery.

The Verdict on Bonelab

Flaws aside, I think Bonelab is an awesome game and a noticeable improvement over its predecessor. There’s endless replay value here, and I’m not even factoring in the campaign, which I’ve yet to really sink my talons into. It’s still early, and with today’s gaming industry having normalized frequent updates and patch rollouts, I wouldn’t be surprised to see it get even better with time.

For now, Bonelab is yet another worthy addition in an increasingly impressive lineup of VR titles. Just not the greatest VR game ever. Or even close.😏

Contel Bradford is a mystical and complex individual. You can attempt to unravel some of the mystery by visiting his author site at countkrewpublications.com.

--

--

Contel Bradford

A seasoned freelance journalist and author, Contel Bradford is into reading, botanicals, horror, video games, and pro wrestling. Moreover, he LOVES adulting.