By Justin Guillou / January 3rd, 2019
|Title||The Walking Vegetables Radical Edition|
|Release Date||November 8th, 2018|
|Genre||Shoot em up|
|Platform||Switch, PS4, Xbox One|
Did you ever hate eating vegetables as a kid? Or better yet, do you still hate them? If so, you may want to check out The Walking Vegetables Radical Edition which has made its way to the Nintendo Switch. The Walking Vegetables is a twin-stick shooter with some rogue-like elements. This game takes place in the 80s where an alien race has invaded our planet and turned all of our vegetables into these evil walking creatures. It’s up to you to join Department Radical and stand up to these creatures, which means shoot them all to a really rad 80s synthwave aestetic! The Walking Vegetables sounds and plays decent enough, however there are things about it I didn’t enjoy as much as I could.
The controls are very simple. You can move with the left joystick, use the right joystick to aim and ZR to fire. R can be used to swing your melee weapon, which can also be used to deflect enemy bullets. The X button can be used to switch your weapon or the ZL button can activate a weapon wheel for easy access. Each stage consists of a rather large open world sandbox consisting of several screens filled with destructible objects and locked buildings filled with loot for you to enter. As soon as you enter a screen you are faced with a handful of enemies to kill. Survive the enemy waves and you will be given the ability to either move to another screen or enter a locked building, provided you have a key on you. Go inside a building or another screen and you will repeat the process until you eventually encounter a mini boss and then are given access to the boss once you defeat it. The boss battles are very challenging since they have a lot of health but can be overcome with the right weapons and luck. Your character can only take about four hits until he bites the dust. Hopefully luck will be on your side because if you die once, it’s game over and you have to start from the beginning.
There’s a reason I mentioned “luck” in the previous paragraph, and the reason is because it plays a significant role in The Walking Vegetables and is by far my least favorite aspect of the game. The levels are randomly generated in the sense that the layout of the buildings and areas will be different. Also the keys and loot will only drop at random, which means that you can have runs where you are just running around aimlessly trying to find a key only for one to never spawn. This means that you won’t be able to enter locked buildings or open chests to potentially gain more powerful weapons, leaving you stuck with the default pistol. Of course this gets even worse when you end up wasting the seemingly sparse keys on a chest that doesn’t really give you something useful. Maybe I had horrible luck while playing, but I felt like more often than not, looking for the keys and trying to open chests and buildings were much more trouble than they were worth as I would get weapons I wouldn’t find particularly useful for the situations I was in.
Also the melee weapons are a bit weird in that their hitboxes don’t always make a ton of sense. I’ve been able to hit destructible objects that were behind me as I swung my baton, for example, or in some cases I was able to connect with an object or enemy despite my weapon not actually making contact with them. Also I am not entirely sure what exactly triggers the mini boss encounters. Sometimes they occur very soon, other times they won’t appear until I’ve navigated the whole map. It never quite felt consistent and as a result I had a lot of trouble really planning for the fights. Levels also contain a shop where you can spend your hard earned money on new weapons or life upgrades, but those seem to only appear at random as well, meaning you can go a long time without ever seeing one. The randomized nature of this game drags these levels out a lot longer than I would have liked.
There are skills you can unlock to make the game a bit easier, but unlocking them can be a long and tedious process in itself. Some of them involve you dying 10 times, others require you breaking 15,000 objects in the game. Apparently in older versions of the game, you could unlock this by breaking only 3,000 so I’m not quite sure why they increased the requirements so much here. A particularly annoying one to unlock has you entering three buildings and finishing them without destroying any furniture. While this sounds simple enough if you just use the melee weapons, it was made annoying thanks to the weird hitbox issues I mentioned earlier. If you are really good at this game you can try and defeat a boss with only one health or do so with just your default gear. As you can see, you really need to devote a LOT of time trying to get some of these abilities and it often feels like a rough grind. If you can do it, you will be rewarded with quite the overpowered character, but I can also see many players being burnt out on the game before that happens, which sadly after spending about four hours playing it, was the case for me.
I will give the game some credit where it’s due. The overall style is really great. I like how well animated and expressive the enemies are and the overall look of the game is, dare I say it, radical. There is even a filter over the action making this game look like an old VHS tape. The music is also fitting, using a lot of synth and vaporwave beats. It’s quite nice and makes what could have otherwise been perceived as a run-of-the-mill twin-stick shooter stand out a bit.
There is definitely an audience for a game like The Walking Vegetables but unfortunately it might not be the game for me. I would have preferred it to have been a bit more traditional and less random. If you are really into rogue-likes and can deal with the unpredictable nature and lengthy process for acquiring skills, you will find the game to be a lot of fun and even rewarding with a lot of replay value. If that sounds up your alley, I would say add as much as an extra star to the score below. There is also a two player co-op mode and an even more difficult “Too Hard Mode” for you to challenge. So the $9.99 asking price gets you a good game with some solid replay value, as long as you are willing to put up with some of the quirkier aspects of it.
Review copy provided by the publisher
nintendo switchSwitchThe Walking VegetablesTwin stick shooterWalking Vegetables Radical Edition