๐Ÿ”ฅ Review: Vaporum "Steam me up, Scotty" ๐Ÿ”ฅ @VaporumGame #GameDev #IndieGame

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Game Title: Vaporum
Developer: Fatbot Games
Platform Reviewed: Playstation 4
Rating: Melting
Price: $24.99 / £19.99

Not a shop in which you can buy e-cigarette products, Vaporum is instead a great Steam-punk Dungeon Crawler that feels restricted by the limitations of the genre.

Beginning with a man cast upon some rocks at sea in front of a giant metal tower, our amnesiac hero heads into the colossal structure to find out who he is and what the heck happened to him. Within moments he is strapped into an exoskeletal rig (cool) and banging spidery robots with crowbars as he makes his way ever closer to the top, floor by floor.

The most modern touch-point for this genre would be the relatively recent Legend of Grimrock games by Almost Human.

It’s a pretty elusive style of game that is awesome to see as there are so few modern examples but the tasty sound designs (the structure almost feels alive as it echoes, creaks, pumps and moans around you as you proceed) moody visuals and heavy ambience are fighting against tedious sliding box and switch-based puzzles.

The game is at its best when you discover audio logs and notes that piece together the lore, find a cool new gadget to install on your rig or perhaps a secret room with a handy new weapon (the game allows both melee and ranged attacks with universal ammunition as well as area attacks of poison/electricity/ fire etc.) allowing you to move swiftly and defeat the foes that roam the corridors, from flying drones and metal arachnids to hammer-wielding atrocities and enemies that boot you away before dispatching you with a shotgun blast. There is also a nice feature whereby you slow down time to 1-second intervals, allowing you more time to plan battle/puzzle strategies.
Unfortunately, for me the puzzles were the biggest grind, I would slowly close my eyes and sigh as I walked into yet another room filled with identical wooden boxes that needed to be pushed and pulled around the grid-based game world or pressed a switch to hear a ‘tick-tock’ that signalled a time-based puzzle. They really felt to me like they were time-fillers and after a while, they just wore me down. I would have preferred a focus more on exploration and adventure than puzzle-rooms.

The grid-based crawler genre is a rare breed and this will be a welcome addition for fans of it but it is showing its age in how restrictive movement, combat and the puzzles feel.

Fatbot Games have made some really nice tweaks to cater for all levels of skill and there are numerous options available to make the game run at the right difficulty for you, the design is top-notch but as I made my way through the gloomy rooms (avoiding the insta-death pit traps) I couldn’t help but wish that I had more control of my character.

Vaporum is a game that would sit nicely in your collection if you are a fan of the genre but it doesn’t break any new grounds aside from the well-presented Steam-punk setting.

If similar titles haven’t grabbed you then I can’t imagine that Vaporum would change that.

Ratings Explained
ICE COOL (Great Game Recommended)
MELTING (Recommended with reservations, one to consider if you are a fan of the genre)
MELTED (Not A Recommended Purchase)

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