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Review: PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry: PS4/PSVR

PixelJunk games are amongst my favourite, of that there is no doubt. I spent years playing PixelJunk Monsters on PS Vita. Literally years. It was easily my go-to game for many, many months. So what about PixelJunk’s latest effort and first venture into PlayStation VR? Read on and I’ll tell you.

No, it’s not as good as PixelJunk Monsters. Well done for reading on. Read on for more.

So, PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry is a PlayStation VR game. That means you’ll need a PSVR headset. I know that sounds obvious, but the amount of emails I get each week tells me I need to make it clear each and every time. You’ll also need two PS Move wand controllers as the game relies on you being able to move your hands around in a virtual space. That means no DualShock 4 and certainly no PSVR Aim controller.

PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry is a simple enough game. Think of it like a wave shooter but instead of shooting the zombies, you cook up some greasy grub and feed them. Yeah, weird concept but it works well enough even if the context is a little strange.

Your job is to feed the undead and cure them of their zombieitis. Feeding enough food to a zombie turns it back into a happy human. Hooray! It’s actually quite simple: zombies stagger towards your food truck while you prepare enough fast food grub to keep the zombies from munching on your hot dog, if you know what I mean.

This means you’re going to be very active. It starts out easy enough with the first couple of levels being extensions of the really easy tutorial. However, the difficulty soon increases and continues to rise through the game’s 30 levels. You really do need to be in something considered good shape to get far in Dead Hungry.

Zombies make their way towards you with a visible health bar. You need to feed it enough food that its health bar is depleted. A plain burger will knock off some health, but a double cheese burger with condiments will take a larger chunk off. You’ve also got chips and pizzas at your disposal, as well as fizzy drinks to top up and throw to the hungry crowd.

The real challenge here, aside from waving ones arms around like a loon, is keeping an eye on the little meters that indicate how long is left for a certain food to cook. You’ll have your pizza down in the oven to your right, while the burgers sizzle on the hot grill above. But what if you’ve got chips in the fryer, too? You’ll need to keep an eye out for when the meter starts pinging and blinking as leaving the food to cook for too long will result in bit of a shitty snack. I have to admit that I struggled early on to keep everything in order, especially as I attempted to create the burgers of all of our dreams. You need to be quick and efficient else you’ll be dead and dinner.

While the gameplay is good and works well with the PS Move controllers, it does get a little old a little too fast. After 30 minutes of play I was getting bored. Not of the gameplay, but of the setting; each and every level takes place in the same street. There’s no variety to the setting and while it doesn’t affect the gameplay, it’s certainly a bore for the eyes.

Graphically speaking, Dead Hungry does what it needs to do. No more, no less. Your immediate surroundings are nice and clear with the tracking working just about as well as any other game – something vital to a decent VR experience, no less. Animations and character models are serviceable as they’re not really intended to be lifelike; it’s a cartoony style, perhaps to keep it from being too scary for little’uns.

At its core, Dead Hungry is a very simple game. You make food, you throw it at the zombies and you survive to do it all again on the next level. The biggest problem the game has is in its variety. The gameplay and location get stale fast; everything you learn to do in the first levels carries over for the rest of the game and there are no new recipes, ingredients or equipment to use. The enemies do shake things up a little, though, with some modifiers being in effect through some of the game’s levels.

Still, when all is said and done, I enjoyed Dead Hungry for what it was: a simple, silly, and entertaining bit of fun. Oi, PixelJunk, if you’re reading this then take note: I’m still waiting for a Monsters sequel. Thanks.

PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry PSVR Review
  • 6.9/10
    Overall - Good - 6.9/10
6.9/10

Summary

PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry doesn't reach the heights of the studios usual output but that's not to say it's not a decent little game. It's hectic fun that's let down by a little too much repetition.

Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a digital copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.

Reviewed using PS4 Slim.

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