Zombies are so prevalent in videogames it’s highly likely that every gamer in the world has at some point come across them. The majority of these tend to fall into the first-person shooter (FPS) genre, running around with pistols, shotguns, swords and other weaponry trying to save the human race from being lunch. On the odd occasion a developer takes a somewhat different tact when it comes to the undead, which is just what ARVI has done with its latest virtual reality (VR) title Zombie Grenades Practice.
The unoriginal title kind of gives the game away as this is an experience involving lots of grenades, zombies, and a few hidden extras to keep things interesting. With 15 levels to complete, the developer keeps things flowing with an ever widening selection of explosive ordinance for you to fling at the undead.
Each level has a selection of zombies to kill and a set number of grenades to use. The fewer grenades you use the higher the score will be, aiming for a maximum three stars for each level. Time isn’t a factor and you’re never in any danger – apart from yourself and a poorly thrown grenade – from the zombies as you’re always in an area they can’t reach.
Gameplay really revolves around skill more than puzzle solving in Zombie Grenades Practice. While some of the depth does come from planning where the choicest areas are to drop a grenade, actually getting it there is where the core addictive gameplay lies. And this will also depend on what grenade is chosen to do the job. ARVI has include a massive assortment of explosives, from timed frag grenades and grenades that explode on contact, to mines that can be set off with rocks and bouncing grenades that are more fun than practical.
In addition to throwing these balls of death around each level is uniquely filled with other items to aid or hinder your score. How about a force field that will only let grenades through at certain times, or switches that need to be hit to activate a crane that can run zombies over. It’s these little extras that help lift Zombie Grenades Practice from your average highscore seeking title to a puzzler with some actual thought put into it.
While all of this sounds good, you’ll need a decent PC to run Zombie Grenades Practice. ARVI recommends an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 as the minimum GPU, much higher than the usual GTX 970 that most VR titles recommend and that VRFocus runs. Normally when VR experiences require higher end GPU’s a quick settings adjustment usually sorts things, but in this case dropping the graphical settings to low made little difference, latency was still bad at points thus making grenade throwing a pot luck chore. It’s difficult to understand why Zombie Grenades Practice needs such a powerful GPU – apart from poor optimisation – when visually impressive videogames like Robo Recall or The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim VR run fine on a lesser GPU.
Zombie Grenades Practice has a lot of positives going for it, with a nice mixture of levels and options with which to complete them. The optimisation problem is going to be an issue for some – if you don’t have a GTX 1070 or an AMD RX Vega 56 or higher then don’t bother – yet for those with the kit Zombie Grenades Practice is a reasonable, albeit short, VR experience that offers a change from all the guns.