Review: Vaporum (PlayStation 4)

Vaporum is a grid-based dungeon crawler RPG in an original steampunk setting, inspired by old-school classics of the genre. Stranded in the middle of an ocean, in front of a gigantic tower, the hero has to find out what the place is, what happened there, and most importantly, who he is.

Pros:

  • Nice graphics.
  • 3.15gb download size.
  • Platinum trophy.
  • Steampunk dungeon crawler gameplay.
  • AA sharpness slider.
  • 5 difficulties-casual, easy, normal, hard and brutal.
  • Options-old school mode, elite mode, game tips, stop time mode and movement type classic or continuous.
  • Old school mode-disables automap.
  • Elite mode-saves only at level start.
  • Nice hand drawn cutscenes.
  • Atmospheric soundtrack.
  • The map fills in as you play and adds points of interest but also allows you to add your own notes and markers.
  • Puzzle elements.
  • 4 Exo rigs(suits) each act as a class and has its own pros and cons for the main attributes. Classes (rigs) are- Thauma, Assault, Combat, and Heavy.
  • Controls-Can enables free look, cursor mode, and repair.
  • 2 hands- main and off hand to equip and use weapons and items.
  • Tooltip to show/tell what’s going on.
  • Combat-free For and attacks have cooldown timers.
  • Voiced characters.
  • Fumium-is your EXP and once you level up you get points to put in the skill tree to add and improve skills.
  • Drag and drop inventory system.
  • Gadgets-add extra attacks and abilities.
  • Old school game feeling.
  • Many enemy types.
  • Slight horror aspect in that it’s a dark game, you can hear enemies scurrying about.
  • A very basic tutorial like opening.
  • Simple to grasp.
  • Decent story.
  • Big levels with many routes to discover.

Cons:

  • Only one control layout.
  • Small text.
  • Way too much camera sway.
  • Combat is slow.
  • Using the Tooltip constantly does get annoying.
  • Have to manually shut down the inventory after looting.
  • Manual only saves can cause issues like saving at the wrong time.
  • Claustrophobic feeling.
  • Bland world.
  • Overly complicated controls with a lot of key combinations and hold this to do this or tap to do that.
  • The game only recognizes pickups at certain angles.
  • Circuit tree (skill tree) feels underwhelming with very little incentive or sense of reward or progress.

Summary

Vaporum is a dungeon crawler game set within a Steampunk setting and delivers a very old school approach and atmosphere. While playing the game you do indeed get the old school feels, moving square by square and turning in 45-degree increments, Vaporum, for the most part, delivers what it says on the tin. What you don’t realize is however is how claustrophobic and bland the world is. It’s like you are just navigating endless tunnels in a dimly lit world. Enemies look cool at first but soon get repetitive and common. Combat has all weapons on a cool down timer which is fine but slow. The one good bit about the enemies actually is that they add horror aspects as the spider looking ones, in particular, make a horrible noise as they skit about causing a lot of anticipation and anxiety to the player. I do like the looting with many aspects of the world holding loot, I just hate stopping in front of lockers then switching to cursor mode and then playing the whole find the pixel mini-game esque quest to hopefully trigger an interactive prompt. Where I am going with all this is Vaporum is fine to play but soon outstays its welcome with tedious puzzles, claustrophobic levels, and boring combat. It does get better near the end but who has the time to plow in to hopefully have it better.

Jim Smale

Gaming since the Atari 2600, I enjoy the weirdness in games counting Densha De Go and RC De Go as my favourite titles of all time. I prefer gaming of old where buying games from a shop was a thing, Being social in person was a thing. Join me as I attempt to adapt to this new digital age!

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