I’ve said this many times before, and the sentiment hasn’t changed: Zombie-themed VR games are starting to stink like the old undead corpses they contain. There are so many of them by now that they all start to shuffle past in a groaning blur of images in my mind.
But every once in a while a zombie game comes along that eschews the boring wave shooter program and offers something a little different. Zombie Grenades Practice is just such a game. In fact, the game completely does away with the immediate danger effect of a zombie chasing you, and replaces it with a varied mix of action and puzzle mechanics. Both of which rely on you having a good throwing arm. Because as the name suggests, grenades are the weapon of choice in Zombie Grenades Practice, and you won’t be in danger but your soldier friends definitely are.
Zombie Grenades Practice released on April 10th for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, and Windows Mixed Reality headsets on Steam with a $12.99 price tag. The game sets itself up as a practice run for when the apocalypse hits and you have to face droves of zombies but your ammo is out. But apparently, all sorts of interesting grenades are available in abundance.
Check out my quick gameplay video:
The first thing that took me by surprise in Zombie Grenades Practice was that I was never in actual danger. Which is an unusual concept for a zombie-themed action game. But the developers do a great job of keeping the intensity going by putting you in full view of the zombies and the soldiers fighting them in each scene. So the goal is to kill all the zombies as efficiently as possible, while as many soldiers alive as you can.
So since a big chunk of zombie games out there (on any platform) consist of first-person shooter games, it’s nice to have an alternative sometimes and that’s exactly what Zombie Grenades Practice offers. Sure, the theme isn’t that original, but it does bring some interesting elements to the undead action genre by making you blow up the walking meatbags and taking you out of the range of their flesh seeking teeth.
Full Access Pass
Zombie Grenades Practice has 15 levels that get progressively harder but also more interesting with an ever-widening selection of grenades filling your arsenal. Puzzles also become increasingly harder which means your chances of earning a three-star score – or even clearing a level at all – for all the levels on your first playthrough is highly improbable. From level 5 onwards I had to redo most of the levels at least a couple of times to successfully clear all the zombies away. There was little to no frustration in failing a level though, because Zombie Grenades Practice doesn’t bar you from trying the next level once you’ve played a level at least once. Meaning that I could unlock virtually the whole game without actually completing all the levels.
Some more hardcore players might take offense to that sort of prissy inclusive means of leveling because every player gets access to the rest of the game whether they’ve earned it or not. On the other hand, it is a great way to keep people invested in the game when they’re stuck on a particular level and just want to move on. You can always go back to any parts you didn’t complete after all. Plus the chances of a player doing amazingly well later on when he or she can’t complete the early levels are very low. But the freedom of choice is there and that’s okay in my book.
No Biting The Bullet
Zombie Grenades Practice is a basic but fun foray into the zombie trope. It’s visually impressive and the physics are realistic – an essential feature if you’re going to be throwing grenades around after all.
However, it does lack some depth – and the zombies and soldiers that line the scenes in each level are woefully lacking in stimulating the experience. Some of the zombies might shuffle around a bit, but for the most part all of the NPCs just stand, sit, or crouch around somewhere in each scene. The developers could have replaced them with cardboard cutouts for all the difference it would have made. Which means that I never had much of a sense of urgency or anxiety when playing this game because there was never any sense of danger. A trait that’s seriously lacking in a zombie-themed action title where you’re supposed to kick undead butt.
The strategic element of the game does make up for that a bit with different grenades and items scattered in each level that could help or hinder your progress. For instance a giant fan blocking a zombie behind it, or a train that can be activated to run over the stinkers shuffling over its tracks. But the explosives are probably the most important facet here, because it’s sometimes important to choose the right grenade for certain spots. Grenades that explode on contact, skill-defying bouncing grenades, and timed frag grenades are all part of an arsenal built up over the course of the game and each is useful in a unique way.
So if you’re somehow still a big fan of the never dead undead game genre and have been looking for something original to get your hands on then Zombie Grenades Practice certainly fits that bill.