If in the highly unlikely event of a mad scientist deciding to bring the dead back to life in a bid to carry out his nefarious commands, what would your first reaction be? There have been enough books, films, TV shows and videogames for most people to have some semblance of an idea, turning their home into a fortress, hunting down the closest supplies or throwing everything out their apartment window. That last one is the premise behind recent PlayStation VR port Throw Anything.
The title originally arrived back in 2018 for PC VR headsets offering a quirky arcade experience with frantic gameplay. Throw Anything’s premise is simple enough, you find yourself trapped in a high-rise building and the zombies in this universe know how to climb – really well. So to stop yourself becoming dinner you have to knock the hordes off the building with whatever is available in the room.
Each room is themed, offering a different selection of items to lob at these brain-eating creatures, with some objects universal throughout; such as baseball bats. The first room is your average apartment so there are sofas, cupboards, a bed, TV and that sort of paraphernalia. The bigger items can then be smashed up so you’ve got more junk to throw – even the annoying inhabitant can be picked up and chucked out. They all have different weights as you might expect, helping to do a little or lots of damage. A book will only do slight damage while a bowling ball can take several zombies out.
The gameplay is designed to be outlandish and comical, breaking stuff, throwing it and then repeating the cycle. And it does get repetitious. So developer Visual Light does try to break things up with lots of additional things to do and look out for. Each level will have unique items such as the second area set in an office. A safe is locked with a combination which is delivered partway through. This can then be unlocked to find gold bars and bags of money which do some considerable damage.
Speaking of deliveries, the postman arrives regularly with new surprise parcels. These can contain basic items to throw or more advanced weaponry such as guns to really dole out the punishment. It can get rather hectic if you let too many zombies approach although some of these better weapons are best saved for the end of level boss fights. You can also head back to the hub area once you collected some cash to buy weapons for a particularly difficult stage.
So apart from a bit of repetition, it all sounds good. Well not quite. With the gameplay split between looking out a window and searching a room, there’s a lot of back and forth movement between these two portions. Fine on a PC VR headset with 360-degree roomscale coverage, less so with PlayStation VR’s single-camera system. Playing on a sofa as many might do is just nigh on infuriating as twisting a full 180 to access the whole room isn’t practical or comfortable after a while.
So switching to standing up could be an option for players helping make that continuous back and forth turning faster and smoother. Either way, both present a problem. PlayStation Move isn’t known for its pin-sharp tracking yet titles such as Blood & Truth highlight great control schemes. Throw Anything wants you to turn away from the camera which only does one thing, makes for very glitchy tracking and tricky item pickup. If there was a way to turn using any of the face buttons – aka snap rotation – that would’ve been a good workaround but there wasn’t an option anywhere to allow this.
As such a big part of the gameplay becomes a battle of patience with inanimate objects rather than the zombies themselves, which is a shame.
Throw Anything feels like a game show mini-game which has been extended way too much. It provides a decent amount of amusement for short periods but the gameplay mechanic soon loses its lustre and that’s not counting the other issues mentioned. It’s an idea that sounds great on paper for a VR experience with lots of interactive elements both in the core campaign and elsewhere yet the delivery falls flat.