Vaporum Review

The Basics:

            In Vaporum, you assume the role of an ex-engineer in a suit of mech-like armor, which is pretty rad on its own. If that’s not enough (geez, you're hard to impress), you also have access to a variety of special powers, both elemental and otherwise, which are granted through the use of steampunk-style technology. You begin by exploring a mysterious, “abandoned” structure in the middle of nowhere, but as you explore the strange facility, you realize that you were deeply involved in the work that was going on. You also quickly discover that the place is definitely not abandoned, and the inhabitants that were left behind aren’t exactly fond of visitors. As you explore, you’ll try not to get killed while finding written notes and audio logs which help you to piece together what exactly happened here. If you think this sounds like a massively popular series that you may have played before, you’d be right; it does. Luckily, Vaporum still sets itself apart in enough ways to make it a satisfying experience.

The Story and the Flow:

            As you work your way through the lab, you begin to piece things together. It turns out that your work here was pretty important; the lab was involved in all kinds of tech and research, from steampunk-era mech suits (and the add-ons to enhance them) to the 'Fusion' chemical used to fill in for EXP and upgrade your suit, not to mention the literal bugs in the system...huge, mean, volatile ones. The game includes an optional auto-mapping system which does a great job marking down exactly what is accessible, what’s movable, etc.

Controls:



            WASD and controller supported. You can choose tile-based movement (a la the classic Gold Box dungeon crawlers) where you stop on every map “square” or smooth movement, and it’s important to note that they both work in “active time” mode, not turn-based, so be prepared to stick and move in combat unless you want to get a beat down.

Graphics and Sound:

            The graphics aren’t amazing, but the game as a good atmosphere, despite getting repetitive after a while, especially on the lower levels where the areas begin to look the same pretty fast. Believable design choices on the doors and blockades really help to sell the environment, with many of the immovable tiles being occupied by functional pistons or other similar bits.

The sound is appropriate for the setting, and it fits in nicely. The music isn’t something that you are going to rave about, but it helps round out the atmosphere pretty well.

 


Summary

A solid game that consciously hearkens back to the good old underwater days of Bioshock (even if this one has you OVER the water), and it’s not a bad thing. Vaporum stands on its own and it’s totally worth exploring its many nooks and crannies and there are a ton. Not everything shows up on your map, but diligent explorers will be rewarded with gear and information and it will definitely take you some time to sort through every corner. The difficulty is pretty high (if you run out of repair packs, you’re most likely screwed) but for many gamers, the high difficulty will just be considered part of the fun!

The devs are pretty active, which is nice to see and they do their best to address customer concerns as fast as they can.

Review by: Eric_Kei


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