STAFF REVIEW of Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition, The (Xbox One)

Saturday, February 16, 2019.
by Adam Dileva

Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition, The Box art Twin-Stick shooters are one of my favorite genres, stemmed from my absolute love of Geometry Wars back on Xbox 360. Since then, I’ve fallen in love with many since, each with their own merits and unique take, though, The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition may be one of the more unique ones I’ve experienced yet. As you could guess from the title, you’ll be fighting against undead/zombie vegetables. I can hear the sound of your eyes rolling, but stick with me, as it really surprised me as well.

The planet is under attack from vegetables that alien invaders have mutated to be alive, and you’re the only one, and baddest dude, that can save the world. It’s an absolute asinine plot, but it absolutely works here with the retro styled graphics coupled with an 80’s aesthetic. I’ll be honest, I know I should know better to judge a game by its looks and screenshots, as I wasn’t expecting much initially, but I can admit when I’m wrong, and I was here; I became completely hooked with The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition grind, even if it was a tiresome one at times.

You move your character with the Left Stick and aim with the Right. As usual, Right Trigger is your shooting action and that’s the general controls aside from using your Right Bumper for melee. You begin with a simple unlimited ammo pistol that requires no reloading, but eventually you’ll come across Uzi’s, Sniper’s, Shotgun’s, Alien weaponry and a bunch of other goodies for your arsenal. You’ll also come across other melee weapons and gadgets that can be tossed or used to alter some abilities.

Thing is, every time you play, every level and stage is completely procedurally generated, so games never really become stale since the levels, enemies, weapon drops, buildings and more continually change each time, that is, until you hit the long arduous grind for the perk unlocks. Even bosses at the end of each stage is seemingly random which one you’ll have to fight against, which is a great change of pace now and then.

A campaign is broken into 3 stages, each of which houses a boss at the end. Each stage needs to be explored a certain amount before a small, and quite annoying, alien will taunt you and try to kill you. Destroy him and he hidden boss door will appear, allowing you to challenge them. Defeat bosses and you’ll earn Radrocks, a currency that carries over from playthrough to playthrough, as you’re going to die many many times.

That’s right, it’s also a rougelike, meaning that your progress, aside from any Radrocks you collected from boss kills, doesn’t carry over every time you die. Yup, you start right back at the beginning after every death. Normally the lack of progression just kills my interest, but the developers included a smart system of progression, even if it is quite a grind and minimal in steps.

For example, when you die ten times, you’ll unlock a perk that allows you to equip an extra heart. You only have a few perk slots though, so you’ll need to grind for the numerous and different perks to suit your playstyle. If you plan on getting them all, you’re in for a very lengthy grind of many hours, not that that’s a bad thing, but it’s much lengthier than I expected. If you’re simply looking to “beat” the campaign, there’s even an achievement for doing so in under 20 minutes, so the true value comes with the replayability and progression towards the unlocks.

As you take out the evil vegetables and fruits, you’ll earn gold per kill. Destroying objects like tires and trashcans will net you keys if you’re lucky as well. These keys can be used to open chests or doors. Chests will have ammo and gold, as every weapon aside from your default needs to have its corresponding ammunition type to be used, and is a great way to fill up your bank roll. Be lucky enough to find the shop, the building with the “$” sign at the door, and have a spare key, and you'll be able to spend your hard earned gold on a bunch of items like new weapons, health refills, more keys and very special unlocks with your hard earned Radrocks should you wish.

While the lack of online support for co-op is severely lacking and quite a disappointment, it’s understandable given this is a small indie game from a handful of guys. Couch co-op is included should you have the partner to play alongside, and is a great experience to have backup in your journey to rid the world of these rotten vegetables in your CORNquest. Hopefully online co-op is something that can be added in later on to add some longevity.

A fantastic 80’s aesthetic, combined with a great retrosynth makes for a radical experience that I just love soaking in. I’m ashamed to admit that I almost dismissed this game initially from first glance, but I’m very glad I got to experience it. While the grind is quite an arduous undertaking, it also means that there’s quite a lengthy amount of gameplay to be had. The Walking Vegetables: Radical Edition really is one in a melon and salad as a rock.

Overall: 8.0 / 10
Gameplay: 8.0 / 10
Visuals: 7.5 / 10
Sound: 9.0 / 10


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