28/08/2018

๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ”ฌ VR Review: Throw Anything "A dastardly scientist, known only as Scientist X, is trying to take over the world!" ๐Ÿ‘จ‍๐Ÿ”ฌ @gazchap #IndieGame #GameDev @

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Developer: Visual Light 
Platform: PC – SteamVR (reviewed using Oculus Rift + Touch) 
Throw Anything is developer Visual Light’s first release on Steam, coming out of Early Access on July 26th with the full game.

The game starts with a basic introduction to the plot, told through nicely-drawn static screens and a robotic voiceover. A dastardly scientist, known only as Scientist X, is trying to take over the world by infecting the global population with a zombie virus. He sets about doing this using a “ubiquitous cube”, but fortunately five good scientists get wind of the plan and split the cube up into 5 pieces, hiding them around the world. X sends his zombie horde to find the five pieces, and this is where you come in.
After the intro, you get walked through a basic tutorial that teaches you the core gameplay – the clue is in the title, really. You can pick up anything (well, almost anything) and throw it at the approaching zombie horde. There are also parcel boxes that you can pick up and open, revealing items that you can use as weapons – spiky baseball bats, fire axes, even guns.
After finishing the tutorial, you appear in your “HQ”, which somehow looks like an even more cartoony “Anti Villain League” HQ from the Despicable Me films. Here you can choose your difficulty setting, access various training rooms, and use a points card to spend points on weapons to use in the game – points are won by playing, with each zombie killed and stage completed earning points. Unfortunately, none of this is explained by the tutorial, but it’s easy enough to figure out.
Starting the game proper, you are dropped in the first stage – defending the world from the confines of the bedroom of “Kevin”, a typical nerd with a room full of computers and gaming equipment that you can pick up and hurl out of the window at the zombies climbing up to get you.
Every so often, a zombie with a large bomb on its back starts climbing at you, shifting your focus as a bomb detonating can be useful when it comes to taking out other zombies!
Kevin also gets regular deliveries to his room from this world’s equivalent of Amazon, with boxes appearing that you can grab and open to reveal weapons that you can smack the zombies around with before throwing them out when their usefulness expires.
Eventually, you’ll face the boss for the stage – defeating them is largely the same, they just take a lot more beating – and you then move on to the next stage. There are five stages in total, each with very different themes and characters, ranging from an Asian restaurant to a Museum - followed by a climactic battle with Scientist X himself.
But, what is the game like to play?
In a word – it’s okay. Playing on normal difficulty, truth be told I found that I started to get bored even before the end of the first stage – there were 81 zombies to knock off according to the end of stage results panel, and although turning around, reaching for things and chucking them out of the virtual window was a pretty good workout, it soon started to wear thin. It took me quite a while to get used to the controls, too – you really wouldn’t think that would be a problem for a VR game based around throwing things, but the “grip angle” for the Oculus Touch controllers was all off – especially when holding a gun, aiming felt incredibly unnatural – I had to point my hand down to shoot straight, which just made me feel like I was shooting at the floor.
The speed at which the zombies climb up towards you is also surprisingly slow – I figured they’d speed up as you progress through the stage, and it’s entirely possible they do but it’s imperceptible if so. I found myself getting more frustrated with my inability to throw things accurately than I did worrying about the impending zombie doom.
The only other real complaint I have with the game experience is the poor user interface, particularly when you die. It only takes one zombie to breach your “safe area” to end the game, but when it does, a little panel appears that gives you your results – number of zombies killed, points rewarded etc. – this panel is glued to your head in the VR world and moves wherever you look – but the zombies themselves do not disappear, instead your “body” clips inside them and you have to move around quite a bit in your play area to be able to see the panel properly to choose what you want to do next. I’d suggest if they release an update that they address this by either fading to black or removing the zombies from the game world.
Looks wise, the situation is pretty good. They’re cartoony and basic, but the style fits the game well and keeps things light – the developers have clearly targeted this as a family game rather than go down the “horror” route, and wisely so in my book.
Audio is serviceable, some jaunty music accompanies you through most of your adventures in game and the sound effects themselves are also basic but work well. A bit more variety wouldn’t go amiss though, particularly with the pleading cries of the NPCs as you throw all their belongings about the place.

Summary 
All in all, Throw Anything is a good first release from the developers – it’s polished, is decently fun (if a little too repetitive) and I look forward to seeing what they do next!
๐Ÿ’ง❄️ RATING: MELTING❄️๐Ÿ’ง

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)
Review by: Gareth ‘GazChap’ Griffiths (gazchap@gmail.com)