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Publisher: Merge Games
Developer: Fatbot Games
Players: 1
Genre: Old School RPG Adventure
Launch Date: 10th April 2019
Price: £19.99 or $24.99

I have always been a keen follower of the retro scene and always acted like an ambassador whenever a game rears its head and nods towards a style of days gone by. Platform games are of particular interest to me, and I loved Rayman Legends like crazy, even saying it was up there with Mario in terms of content and feel.
There are, however, some game styles that I feel should have been left in the realms of the past. Namely, those in the style of Eye of the Beholder. These would be your first-person viewpoint games where there is no natural turn, instead feeling like you are on rails with a 90 degree turning circle and fiddly buttons and majorly in-depth RPG elements that only a student could understand.
The thing is though, as much as I know I say these things, I can see why Vaporum came out, as well as see a good quality game in-front of me. It just isn’t my own cup of tea.

Story - 7/10
When you first encounter the story there will be one major inspiration vibe for Vaporum, and that will be Bioshock. The fact that so much of it comes heavily from this source is almost striking. A mysterious Steampunk styled antique metal tower in the middle of water, being approached by a person who has no idea who he is? You can be forgiven for wearing that “Been there, done that” t-shirt that’s been in the wash for a while. It is different enough, but you will feel like you’ve been there before.

The good thing is though, you do also get a little feeling of a long-lost game that I always had a soft spot for, Myst. There are some nice puzzle sections in here as well and that adds to my enjoyment a bit more. Well, I say enjoyment for me; I mean enjoyment more for those that are fans of this particular style. This is more for those Dungeons and Dragons types that need to take their time and like to see those pesky numbers above enemy heads when they’re being hit.

Gameplay - 7/10

It is a very solid game in terms of build quality. It never feels hugely under stress, but there are also times where it can be just a little bit bland. When you’re stuck in a dingy tower, going through a lot of corridors that look strangely similar, you can get a tad bored, but you really need to get more into the layers and levels of the building. It is then that you begin to equip yourself with potions, magic, implements of mass destruction and loads of armour and customisable options to help you get through.

The only thing I WILL say is, please don’t have an easy option to head back to the last checkpoint. I got through a fair bit of the game thinking I could save by a simple button press... I ended up going back to the start of the game. Don’t make the same mistake I did.


This guy looks very menacing


Graphics - 7/10

There are those moments, as I said, that are pretty dull, but you have to kind of take it in context. It IS a Steampunk game, so it needs to be a little bland and unwelcoming. It does have some nice bits of graphic flair, but for the most part you get a solid and decent experience for the eyes. It isn’t the worst game I’ve looked at, but it isn’t the best either.


Sound - 6/10

It may have a full-on voice cast, but they are a little on the wooden side and a lot of the time you won’t really hear very much of interest to you. It does get atmospheric from time to time, which is nice, but for the most part it acts as a slight enhancement to Vaporum, rather than a full-on addition.


Difficulty - 7/10

I do like difficult games, I’ve never made that unclear, but I cannot help but feel like the way the game plays doesn’t help matters. I do like to feel that you’re in complete control of your character and that you can start and stop wherever you want to. That simply isn’t the case here, and I personally (key word there) am not a fan. There’s a load of people that are though, so I can’t be too harsh on it, but I feel it makes the difficulty move towards the annoying part of hard, rather than the rewarding.




This guy doesn't look to bad right? Afterall we killed the giganctic one all those years back in Gears of War


Value - 7/10

It's a tough one to call. As I’ve said, I’m not feeling it, but I know folk that will. As much as it will be known as the most used phrase in game review history, it is true for Vaporum. “If you’re a fan of this type of game, you’ll love this.” and that is exactly what this game is. There’s loads to uncover and a lot of puzzles to solve and there’s plenty for your price bracket to deal with.


Achievements - 6/10

Never really got enough achievements coming through to gauge how they would fall, but then I was pretty pants at this game, so that might explain a lot. I do feel there are many hidden achievements out there for it though.


Summary
So, what do I make of Vaporum? Well, I know if you’re into older game styles that have pretty much been forgotten about, mixed with the shavings of a first-person shooting classic then you’ll be in absolute heaven with this. For the rest of us, we don’t quite get that feeling of wanting to head far back into the depths of old school gaming on this occasion.

The thing is though, I’m looking at this from the point of one of those that would embrace it. When you do, you get a feeling of a game that is rich in depth, skill and reward, albeit with an interface that will only please a certain type of player, but then, you’re catering for THAT player with this, so you have to be more impartial.

I can see why a lot of people would like Vaporum and I think it is worth a purchase if you are one of those people, but for me, I'd use that £20 and get Trials Rising or something that I feel my old brain can handle.

For those of you that relish diving into Vaporum, you do so with my blessing and I don’t blame you. It’s not too bad, and I can see why you like it.

Overall: 7/10
 

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