It's generally accepted that vegetables are good for you. We're told to get our five a day wherever possible and eat our spinach to be strong like Popeye. But sometimes vegetables have a dark side. In The Walking Vegetables that dark side takes the form of trying to attack you. Now, personally, I’ve always had a bit of an issue with sprouts, but I’ve never had one try to kill me. This game was therefore a first for me.
From the outset, you can see the old-school influence in The Walking Vegetables. With VHS artifacts, distortion, and lots of neon, it’s got a very retro, vaporwave-like feel to it. The colour scheme and visual style are very reminiscent of Hotline Miami, and it’s clear that game was quite an influence on this one. The violence and profanity of Hotline Miami aren’t present of course, but the spirit is there. It’s also a twin-stick shooter, but a bit less “video nasty”.
With procedurally-generated levels, you could feasibly keep playing this game indefinitely, but the deluge of broccoli, tomatoes (technically not a vegetable, I know), and carrots think differently about that and you’ll not survive long unless you’ve got your wits about you. It’s not quite as hard as games like Party Hard and Hotline Miami, but it’s just as speedy as those titles. The main difference here is that you have a health bar and a way to top it up. The one hit kill system often found in this kind of game isn’t present, which you’ll be thankful for as the screen fills up with food eager to make a meal of you.
There are tonnes of routes through each level, with maps being sprawling environments spawning waves of enemies when you enter an area. Clearing an area unlocks more of the level, but how you tackle it is up to you, with backtracking to unlock everything or speeding through all guns blazing equally effective tactics. Personally, I preferred to explore everything in order to see as much of the level as possible, but if you just want to squish some veg and move on, then feel free. You’re an adult, nobody can tell you what you can and can’t do.
There’s a plethora of weapons to play with, from baseball bats to grenades to shotguns and flamethrowers, there’s tonnes of choice. Thankfully, ammunition is also plentiful, with dead enemies leaving it laying around everywhere. That’s not to say that it’s easy though, you’ll need all of those bullets, especially with the end of level bosses that pose a huge challenge.
There is a storyline in the game, but it’s relatively short, with the main task being high score chasing. Don’t expect some deep and confusing tale like in similar games, it’s amusing, but it’s superficial and not really the main draw here. The replayability comes from trying to better your last score on each run. Of course, the downside to this is that if you’re not a high score addict like me, then this game’s appeal might be limited. That said, it’s a relatively cheap title, so it wouldn’t be fair to expect it to be too expansive.
Overall, with colourful visuals, a swanky soundtrack and tonnes of things to shoot, this is a decent title that doesn't take itself too seriously. It’s not an epic saga, but it’s a nice little diversion and it’s worth a play.
The Walking Vegetables (Reviewed on Xbox One S)
This game is good, with a few negatives.
This is a decent title that doesn't take itself too seriously. It’s not an epic saga, but it’s a nice little diversion and it’s worth a play.