Throw Anything HTC Vive VR Game Review

Throw Anything – An Early Access Zombie VR game with a whole new direction in gameplay.

What Is The Game Like?

I was introduced to this game suddenly. I had no idea what to expect beyond the name “Throw Anything.” As you can see, it’s an apt description. The breakdown of the game so far is that you are in a room, and zombies are climbing the building. Throw stuff and knock them down. Very simple concept, but simplicity doesn’t make it any easier on your arms.

Gameplay First Impressions

In fact, simplicity in this context is meaningless. One of the first impressions I had about the game was that it was hard. Physically and in terms of gameplay… and difficult gameplay is oftentimes difficult in this medium. How hard can an enemy be to fight with a sword in VR if you can just stick the weapon at them, and wiggle it around to hit them a hundred times in five seconds? It’s not difficult at all.

Final Thoughts

This game had me, for lack of a better term, desperate at times to move my body faster to keep these seemingly cartoonish zombies from climbing into the window. They wouldn’t be scary but they’re so big, they’re at least a whole head taller than me. And here’s the thing: no matter how quickly I could throw stuff it never seemed to be enough. It’s just hands down a difficult game.

The Last Day Defense Virtual Reality HTC Vive Review

The Last Day Defense Virtual Reality review

Now, my first reaction when being offered this game was pure excitement. I had this board game when I was a kid that I loved so much, it was very unique. Basically, there was a castle on one side, a fort on the other, and you’d place catapults and trebuchets and such on your battlements. Then, you’d lead your troops down a lane, turn by turn, to attack the enemy. The enemy would do the same, and you’d both first your siege machines at the troops and at the enemy’s castle until it all exploded.
That was my very first exposure to the concept of Tower Defense, and I’ve loved it ever since. Like I said, when I got offered this game I was really excited. Rather than a board game with old siege equipment, it was a new Virtual Reality game in some weird dystopian future. Futuristic soldiers and tanks and flamethrowers everywhere. That’s a great way to sum up the game though: futuristic tower defense in VR with flamethrowers and mortars.

As far as a tower defense game goes The Last Day Defense by ARVI LLC is really good. You get three basic options of defensive towers – Mortar Towers, Infantry Bunkers, and Turrets. Each have different effectiveness’ against the four different types of units – Infantry, Light Truck, Tank, Aircraft. Each type of tower upgrades into three distinct types of each top level unit, each with their own different levels of effectiveness versus the various enemy types.

Gameplay itself starts off easy on the tutorial table, but by the time you get to the second table (which is where most of the gifs are from,) things start ramping up quickly, with multiple lanes of approach and different waves of enemies providing a different type of challenge. A lot of tower defense games I’ve played stay fairly easy, as just stocking up enough towers and upgrading them sufficiently was enough to mow down every enemy before they even got halfway through the board.

As is par for ARVI, this game gets difficult quickly. One thing I can say about this game is that it is not one that you pick up and beat in the same sitting. I started in on the third table recently and if I could have grabbed my hair while still holding my Vive wands, I would have started ripping my hair out. Which is actually great for a strategy game like this – like I said too many make it too easy. I found myself frantically moving myself around to try to and micromanage upgrades, selling unneeded towers, and rebuilding towers that I needed for the upcoming wave… or more usually, for the current wave that is quickly creeping toward the end of the map and my UFO base.

The maps are varied, with several different biome types. I haven’t explored them all yet, and frankly I took most of the .gifs from the first two levels, as I don’t like to spoil too much. That being said, you can find more representative screenshots of the levels on the actual steam store page. They’re also quite varied in style and how the enemies approach and attack. Above you see one of the first levels you’ll play that has two spawn points, and both sets of troops actually work toward the middle, with that bridge being the end of the line.
Graphically speaking, the game looks great. The screen can get really busy, and everything still looks good. The individual models on the boards aren’t bad at all. One thing I did notice is that there doesn’t seem to be much variation in the troop types and their appearance, which could be a lack of assets, or could be intentional. The way this game plays out, it’s good to know exactly what type of troop is moving where at what time so you can plan accordingly.

Now, as good of a tower defense game as it is, I hate to say but I didn’t see a lot of Virtual Reality interactions. At first, I thought I was missing something, but at this point I don’t think so. The controllers stay controllers – you can adjust the speed of the game with them – but otherwise they’re just like 3D mouse pointers that let you select which pad to place a new tower on. Which leads me back to my first point about the old tower defense board game I used to play. What was interesting there was, as it’s all manual and in real life, you had to aim each shot manually and do it yourself. A line of enemies could be in a terrible position ready to be wiped out, but one bad shot could lose you your turn. A great shot could have you taking out your enemy’s troops in multiple areas just because the little balls you would launch would roll.
I can’t help but think that the game could have gone from good to mind-blowing great if the Virtual Reality aspect had been focused on alongside the tower defense aspects. While I’m not a game dev (yet,) as soon as I started playing I saw a few opportunities for more VR interactions. Firstly, the premise is the world is destroyed and you fly around on a UFO to these post-apocalyptic locations. I found it strange that the UFO that you see on the map isn’t your base, you don’t see the world below you if you walk to the edge of the room you’re in. Maybe they could have let us take control of the various towers and actually manually operate one, in order to use the VR aspect to gain a little more ground or be more accurate or something, while the rest of them work on auto. Even something like controlling the game from inside the map, and just using a sense of massive scale while having you stand, Infantry-sized, on a tower commanding a ship to drop and construct giant mortars that start firing. Really, adding any aspect of VR interaction would make this game jump from a good game, and great Tower Defense game to an incredible Virtual Reality Tower Defense Game.

Ultimately, it’s a game I enjoyed, and will continue to enjoy – and I want to thank ARVI for giving me these opportunities to review their games. As a reviewer though, I have to say if the actual Virtual Reality interactions of VR are important to you – this game could be lacking. It’s a strong and difficult Tower Defense game, the strategy is engaging, there are plenty of tables and maps and overall a great amount of content for the purchase price. I still can’t help feeling, as I’ve said, that it could be so much more with more Virtual Reality presence.

For $19.99 though, any person who likes tower defense games would be silly not to give The Last Day Defense a playthrough. As the game is Early Access according to the steam page, they have a lot of updates planned as well, including Multiplayer, Mini bosses, more tower types it seems, as well as more troop types. They also mention more interaction, so they may already be working on further VR interaction like I mention. I’m looking forward to their updates.

The Last Day Defense on Steam: https://store.steampowered.com/app/813670/The_Last_Day_Defense/

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Thank you to ARVI LLC for the game! You can find more from me, crimsonBZD at twitch.tv/crimsonBZD , twitter.com/crimsonBZD , and on Instagram!

Skyfront VR – An intense VR Arena shooter with a heavy focus on Verticality

Skyfront VR – An intense VR Arena shooter with a heavy focus on Verticality

Skyfront VR is a particularly unique Arena style shooter in Virtual Reality. I’ve never personally played anything like it. Unlike other FPS VR games, this one doesn’t have you performing complicated, multi-step reloads as fast as possible. Taking cover is not such a simple proposition as ducking through the nearest door.

Instead, Skyfront VR has you flying around levels that designed as vertically as they are horizontally. Movement is based on a special weapon that can be equipped at any time to either hand which boosts you through the map. It has a basic grappling hook to pull you even faster. The weapons are simplistic to control, meaning the only difference between you and your enemy is your aim, skill and strategy.

The game has a fairly average selection of weapons so far, an assault rifle, a sniper rifle, a six-shooter style pistol, a shotgun, and a minigun. Then it also has the rocket launcher shown above. At first I thought this weapon was kind of broken, and it might be a bit overpowered, but ultimately I find this weapon is a key design choice that prevents the game from stalling out into a situation where everyone is just dodging and moving too fast for anyone to hit them.

The rocket launcher shoots a limited number of rounds which really aren’t enough to kill another player alone, but any additional damage and they’ll be dead quickly. If someone is trying to boost away, a quick couple of shots will have perfect heat seeking missiles hunting them down and ensuring you get the kill.

Now, the movement in this game I think is pretty cool. You point that gun in my left hand where you want to go and pull the trigger. Pushing the top of the pad will give you a boost, and from my play it appears using this movement gun in both hands will increase your speed, with “double boost” rocketing you around very, very quickly.

The grappling hook option is not only great for getting around the map quicker, but dodging enemies as well. I’ve quickly escaped losing situations in this game by quickly grappling from location to location. Its range is limited though, and on more than one occasion I’ve gotten myself killed by misjudging the distance and trying to grappling hook away.

Like I mention in the title, verticality is a huge part of this game. I mean, given that you’re flying around in any direction, it sort of has to be. This clip I cut out not because I was wrecking kids or getting quad kills with my eyes closed, but instead to show that verticality in action. I probably would have had gotten that guy if I had simply thought to look down, but I was still in a “horizontal” mindset at this point.

One thing I do want to say though is that I think they have a lot of opportunity that’s yet to be seized with their verticality and movement system as it is now. It works for an arena shooter – even more so it’s great for an arena shooter in VR – but I can’t help but imagine large maps with tunnels to chase people around in, pillars shooting up in the air and chasing players through them with the grappling hook while dodging incoming missiles from behind. I see a lot of opportunity with this one, and it’s stuff you couldn’t do in tradition FPS or other VR FPS.

Now, the gunplay and the scopes. The firefights in this game make look other VR games look casual. It can be pretty tense in other shooters, you back up against a wall, go through your complicated 12-step reload process, and hope they don’t blast you when you pop your head back out. Skyfront takes it to a new level when everyone flying around each other as fast as they can, but the difficulty in shooting is balanced out by that all-important rocket launcher. You can select a different weapon, but frankly I don’t recommend it.

The scopes are something I really have to commend the devs on, especially the assault rifle red dot and the magnum iron sights + laser sight. VR is a low-resolution environment still, and especially in a high-movement game like this it can be very time consuming to even try to use a sight properly. The sight on the red dot for the assault rifle in this game is spot on – the sight is large, minimalist, the red dot is very easy to see and use at a glance, and it will move accurately with the spatial rotation of the gun. For the magnum pistol (which is really fun) you mainly use the laser sight which gives you an additional advantage of better hipfire, to compensate for a very low rate of fire.

The game also features a set of “special abilities,” which are your fairly generic shields, scan enemy through walls, force push kind of abilities – but it’s that kind of stuff that all ties together to create a fast paced game with lots of options for various situations. Me personally, I like to use the shield the most. It’s simple, and can help counter those pesky rockets and someone who thinks they’re going to get an easy kill just because you’re out in the open.

Finally, that motion sickness factor. At one point during my play I was joined by several kids in VR arcades, which was interesting to say the least. Pretty much everyone who could talk was saying, presumably about their first experience, that they thought they were going to hurl. Frankly this will happen to anyone who has weak VR legs with any game that allows you to move in a directly you’re not directly looking. That being said, there’s no swinging or awkward momentum pushing you around, so it’s something that you’ll get used to quickly. I don’t think any of those kids had an issue for more than a few moments before we were all having a blast.

Ultimately, I think this game is really cool. It’s the first and only FPS I’ve played so far that offers proper fast paced, intense multiplayer arena shooter action. That’s not to say that other games are bad, but this one is the fastest out there and with the verticality options, it provides really intense gunfights. All the thrill of going on a 20-0 killstreak in COD is right here, in VR, flying around with a rocket launcher or a minigun or that nasty magnum style pistol. I really think the devs have a lot of opportunity to create some really unique maps that make use of their unique movement style and grappling hook. The only other concern I have is, like every VR game, is overall players. That being said as more people pick this gem up there’s going to be no issue finding matches or plenty of opponents to send flying. Make sure to give it a go.

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Thanks for reading! If you want to see more, you can find my Twitch stream at: twitch.tv/crimsonBZD – I play virtual reality, and a wide variety of games. Fun and friends are more important than playing like a pro. This article is just a glimpse of what I and VR have to offer. I plan on making more virtual reality videos and articles for you to enjoy. Thanks to my girlfriend @ChelzBZD for being awesome and a huge shoutout to @Kitsuga_Gaming and Kitsuga.com, thanks ya’ll!

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