Let’s be honest with ourselves – the zombie trope has been used to death. Especially in video games and in VR particularly. The shuffling dead don’t even stick to one genre either. They’ve infected nearly every type of game out there. So when I first heard of Visual Light’s Throw Anything I was a little skeptical, as you can surely imagine.
The game’s premise revolves around you being stuck in an apartment building during the zombie apocalypse with surprisingly agile zombies making their way up via the side of the building. Because stairs are too mainstream right? So the idea is to stay alive through the game’s five levels by throwing anything you can find at the climbing zombies to keep them at bay. So sure, it’s unique – you won’t see much drunken shuffling here. But is the gameplay strong enough to overcome the bias against its theme? I’ll be exploring that in more detail below, as well as talk about what I liked and didn’t like about the game.
Throw Anything is now available on Steam Early Access for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets at a $16.99 price tag. I tried it using a Vive and found that the game has a quirky, colorful design that takes a lighter approach to the zombie apocalypse and pairs it with crazy, frantic gameplay mechanics that make for a fun time.
Check out my gameplay video:
If you’ve played any sort of zombie-themed game in your life then you’ll be familiar with the general behavior of these types of denizens. However, I’ve never before seen them scale high-rise buildings in the hope of getting at some juicy brains on the third or fourth floor. It’s a new take on the trope, certainly, and that’s what made me give the game the benefit of the doubt at least. So that, paired with the gameplay mechanics meant that I was pleasantly surprised to find that, unlike many other zombie games out there, Throw Anything wasn’t just another generic regurgitation of a dying (or dead) motif.
As I said above, the game has 5 levels and the developers did a great job of keeping things flowing, as well as keeping the game interesting by making every level different. The main gameplay stays pretty much the same – you’re in a room and everything is destructible so you can pretty much go berserk and destroy everything in your bid to throw zombies back down to the ground. So when the zombies first appeared, I pulled up my sleeves and channeled my inner crazy ex-girlfriend to start flinging anything within grabbing distance out of the window. The act in of itself was pretty satisfying but it felt even more rewarding every time I got more than one zombie to fall to their final death.
Smash & Grab
The game doesn’t have any difficulty settings so what you have is what you get. For the most part it’s manageable, but towards the later end of each level things start getting particularly chaotic as more zombies approach in preparation for the boss. If you watched my video then you’ll see that I didn’t handle this particularly well, but it was hard to keep up with the fast pace – especially when I started running out of things to throw in my near vicinity and had to actually start looking towards the back of the room.
Plus the game puts a person in the room with you and I swear the only purpose of this NPC is to irritate the living daylights out of you. They keep getting in the way while trying to keep you from throwing all the furniture out the window, which resulted in me throwing them out the window too. Sometimes even on purpose. Other NPCs included a purple delivery guy who brought items like a gun or barbed wire bat (Lucille?) and at other times I just got a shoe or a book. Not very helpful.
That being said, most people like a little challenge to go with their wave-based game, otherwise it gets boring pretty quickly. So that’s where this game really succeeds – in making me so frustrated because I could get past a level that I try it 6 more times just to beat it.
A Monotonous Marathon
Besides each level being a little different, there were some hidden ‘puzzles’ if you will that made the game a little more interesting. For instance, the second level had a 3D printer that I could use to create more objects to throw, and a safe with heavy gold bars – but to get to them I had to crack the code. Those felt like nice touches to an otherwise repetitive game. Which brings me to my next point. The unfortunate curse of wave-based games is that you can’t exactly escape the tediousness of it after a while. Pair that with the overused zombie trope – and well, you’ve got a bit of a monotonous marathon on your hands. Well, maybe more of a short race if you’re really good at hitting those buggers in the right spot with the right thing.
In the end, Throw Anything is just what it says it is – you won’t find any hidden surprises here. But the colorful visuals, lighthearted feel of the game and frantic, difficult gameplay offer a good time for anyone who likes a challenge without gore and emotional attachment. Still, even though it offers a unique take on the usual zombie killing game, I still don’t think this will keep most people occupied more than an hour or two at most. There’s just not enough of an incentive to keep going.
That being said, Throw Anything just released in Early Access which means that it could still receive game-changing updates that turn this repetitive workout into something a little more titillating.