Review by Kerith Busby
Vaporum Is something a little different, it is a steampunk dungeon crawler. This has been developed by the Slovakian based developers at Fatbot games, the style of game play is not what you’re thinking though as it is a first-person grid-based dungeon crawler. I know what your thinking it must be a miss type but it’s not and I will come back to that shortly don’t worry.
The developers at Fatbot got their inspiration for Vaporum from old school games like dungeon master and the eye of the beholder series along with some newer titles such as legend of grimrock.
The game starts with out hero stranded in the middle of the ocean in front of a giant tower, this leaves out hero wondering what this place is, what took place and finally but not the least important who he actually is…
The controls are all explained as you work through the tutorial so that is nice and easy to get to grips with, sadly even though they are easy to grasp they are overly sensitive and due to the fact, you are moving in a grid system they do come across restricted and clunky. I realise those 2 things shouldn’t be in the same sentence but there is a reason, as you try to turn etc you will sometimes find yourself moving to far or moving to many spaces which is the sensitivity issue I refer to whereas the gird system makes everything seem so slow and clunky for a first person based game.
As you proceed through the tutorial you have the option to turn off the notes that pop up explaining new things that appear on the Hud or skills you unlock so if you can face multiple play throughs this will make life a lot easier for you. The game does also include RPG elements to it as well where as you progress through the tutorial you will get to choose an EXO suit to wear, they all look suitably steampunk and gothic design and each has there own bonuses such as the combat suit, heavy suit or the tech suit etc. so you can tailor your suit to match your play style but keep in mind you can’t change it later.
Vaporum is a very good-looking game with a lot of details put in to the backgrounds and the tunnels you move through, it can be very immersive, and the game has a gloomy isolated feel to it as you move through corridors and tunnels. They have also developed a range of interesting and all very different enemies for you to battle such as robotic spiders, flying cannon robots and even turrets just to name a few of the creatures you will encounter on your dungeon crawling chaos.
There are a range of weapons to choose from which will affect different enemies differently, have different ranges and speeds of attack which include melee and ranged so you can play how you prefer, and you can switch load outs with a button press. As you progress you also unlock tech abilities such as flame attacks or lightning attacks which can come in handy when surrounded by some of the mechanical and maniacal hordes.
Vaporum has a map that writes itself as you explore so you only know the layout for where you have been, so you must explore each room, corridor and check behind every door (even the hidden ones which you have to look out for). Vaporum will throw all manor of puzzles at you ranging from times button hits to press pads to hidden doors, this will keep you very busy going back over rooms you have already been in hoping to get a different reaction…. Hang on isn’t that a sign of madness??
Although Vaporum is a very good look and well-made game I feel that some of the puzzles are a little overly complicated and there is a pretty steep learning curve from what I have seen which will eventually start to drive you up the wall after a while and probably googling a answer to the level, well I would of if I wasn’t playing it before release so instead I just ploughed on at the risk of my sanity.
I feel the game would be massively improved just by giving you free movement rather than grid based moves as it is a real time game and this can lead to a very broken game play especially in combat, they do give you the option to pause time and plan your tactics but that still doesn’t help to make it easier to fight a flying cannon and a spider snapping at your ankles.
Overall, I give the game a 6/10. Vaporum has a great idea but the movement is a issue for me and I feel it just slows the game down far too much.