I’ve played a lot of games over the years, seen many movies and one thing always stuck out – zombies, why are they always trying to eat brains? What’s their reasoning? I wouldn’t find it very appetising, so why would an undead version of me relentlessly crave the mushy organ? What if once you become a zombie, you develop a craving for all the things you wouldn’t dream of liking whilst you were among the living; Brains, flesh, Justin Bieber… What would then happen if, as a reanimated corpse, you feasted on things the living enjoy such as burgers, pizza and shrimp? What if eating these things actually cured the zombie virus and made you human once more?! I believe Q-Games have discovered this unknown anti-virus and have decided to enlighten us in their new game, PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry.
Dead Hungry doesn’t really have a story as such, but instead a total of 30 missions, all possessing the same goal whilst expanding your arsenal. That goal is to cure all the zombies whilst stopping them from getting hungry and gobbling you up. Q-Games are known for taking popular genres and mixing them up or trying something new to make them more fun in the process. In regards to Dead Hungry, they have taken a format like Cook, Serve, Delicious and mixed it with a hungry horde of zombies and job simulator. The result is enticingly exquisite.
The gameplay premise is simple, you are an employee of a burger van. You’re surrounded by patties, cheese, buns, fries etc… as well as drinks, an oven, a fryer and a stove. Upon opening your van, the zombies begin to slowly make their way over to your counter and you must serve them the best food they’ve ever had in their (undead) life. Burgers are cooked on the stove, pizzas in the oven and fries in the fryer but don’t leave them on the heat for too long as everything is prone to burning, which isn’t very appetising! Once a zombie has had enough food (indicated by their health bar) they will turn back into a living, breathing human and be on their way without even leaving a tip!
The game wants you to play standing up which I was unable to do due to an injury so I played it sitting down. The game was still 100% playable, it just meant I was hitting the floor when trying to open the oven on my first few attempts. The game starts off fairly simple, with only burgers and fries to make, however, it soon becomes quite manic and stressful once the number of hungry zombies banging on your van creeps up. If you get hit three times by the same zombie then it’s game over.
The twist that Q-Games has pulled off here is that your burger doesn’t have to be made out of purely the edible food you are cooking – you can grab literally anything in your van and use that on the burger buns and deem it “edible”, and I mean anything! At one point I had a burger made out of the clock, a cat ornament, salt, pepper, ketchup/mustard bottles and four ‘cups’ of coke – the zombie loved it and instantly turned human.
The game is fully controlled with two move controllers, making it really simple to pick up and place the various food items. You can even throw things around! You can grab the burgers and toss them over your shoulder onto the grill to speed the process along a little, given you are accurate enough of course! Your character is perfectly positioned as well. You’re situated in the middle of everything so tracking of the PSVR is never lost as you turn to pick up the various items and everything is within reach.
As you progress through the 30 levels you will receive rewards upon completion such as a new component to put on your burgers or an ornament for your van (which can also be used as food).
The levels will also sometimes mix up the gameplay a little like offering fat zombies that take more food to convert or making the zombies faster but weaker. There is a fair amount of variation but I found I was building very similar burgers and pizzas on each stage after getting into the swing of making certain things.
One thing I did notice is the location where your van is placed. You are always on the same street, overlooking some other vendors (who don’t seem as popular as you as nobody goes to them!) which never changes. I would have liked to see more locations within the game and maybe a wider variety of zombies as they were pretty much the same, outside of the different zombie types.
The music in the game is great, it’s like a cheesy rock soundtrack which you can change by picking up the boombox and swapping out the cassette with ones you find in the van which I thought was a nice touch. The sounds the zombies make and the fact you can set timers on all your food so it gives you an audible alert was also very charming and adds to the immersion.
PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry is a great game for showing off the brilliance of VR. It has all the things you’d want: use of move controllers, fully interactive environments, realistic-looking reality, and rock-solid mechanics. However, the gameplay itself doesn’t vary much as you progress, adding only a few more options and bumping up the difficulty, meaning you just have to get faster at doing the same things. I really enjoyed playing this and can see it being a great game to challenge your friends within.
PixelJunk VR Dead Hungry£15.99
- Great use of the VR with no loss of tracking
- I never got any motion sickness or headaches from this game
- The game gives each of your crazy burgers a name after the round
- Keeps you busy the whole time
- New food is added, but no new cooking mechanics
- Lack of different locations
- Can get a bit stressful and a bit more difficult in later levels