Vaporum - Switch Review

Having come out just before the 2017-18 holiday season on the PC, Vaporum was a great example of what could be done with the Dungeon Crawling style. Set in a steampunk-ish derelict tower, your goal is to piece events together as you explore the tower floors and solve the puzzles that would allow you to continue moving forward. Moving into 2019, Vaporum is now available on consoles with a few tweaks making it playable from the couch with a controller.

First person Wizardry dungeon crawling has been around for quite a long time however it was generally performed in a turned based fashion. Since late 2017, a few titles have moved away from that staple in order to create something new by having pieces move in real time instead of always waiting for you to move. Vaporum, instead of simply making elements move forward, made everything move in real time while still holding onto that nostalgic 1-1 ratio. If you stand still, your more apt to die as enemies will either charge forward to launch projectiles your way. Still bound by the core rules however, if you move one block over, most melee and ranged attacks will fly right by you unless they are designed to hit multiple blocks.

Having gone with a fairly tight dungeon design, you’ll often be using the winding halls between the slightly bigger rooms in order to protect yourself from enemies in between your bouts of exploration. Some weird bug creatures will either spit acid at you or launch themselves forward in order to cut you deep enough to cause you to bleed extra health once they’ve jumped back. Flying robots will about do the same but with guns and spikes instead. Leading either them into smaller spaces where certain moves are not permitted, the core design of Vaporum showcases the style that it’s based on as they will have to move and turn around in order to hit you but you’ll already have moved out of the way if you were smart enough.

Vaporum is rather combat heavy at times and because of this you can sometimes forget exactly what you were up to when searching for keys to put into locks that you’ve come across. There were many times that while looking for something that I missed and needed to proceed forward, I wound up in another stellar fight that I didn’t see coming. This was because I had already defeated everything in the previous room and forgot that at times new enemies will spawn up to keep things interesting. You tend to forget things after two years…

The exploration however is both minimalistic yet satisfying, not unlike From’s Souls series. You get tiny shreds of information on a paper. You find audio clips describing the ongoings of the people that used to be here but are currently nowhere to be found. Pieces start to come together a bit more after a few floors but the answers you truly require, those you will need to prove that you can actually handle them by solving locked doors, blocked passages and often reside behind large scary enemies that you’ll have to find ways to defeat if you want to move forward.

Now one thing that came to mind the first time that I played was that Vaporum would have been perfect for a controller. Finally getting that wish, I found at times there were a few tiny issues that could arise when it came to clicking on things because the cursor was basically still that of a mouse cursor but it required you to move it around with one of the thumb-sticks while holding onto one of the shoulder buttons. That said, just about everything else made an excellent transition over and both the exploration and the combat felt right at home.

FatBot Games’ Vaporum is still, to quote myself, a Dungeon Crawling experience that fans will find plenty to love with the mix of the old schooled and new ideas alike. With solid gameplay mechanics and good shreds of information to keep you guessing as to what’s happened, the dive back into this tower was made even better with the fact that you can take it on the go with the Switch’s portability!

Game Information

Nintendo Switch
Fatbot Games
Fatbot Games
Dungeon Crawler
Single Player
Other Platform(s):
Sony PlayStation 4
Microsoft Xbox One

Provided by Publisher

Article by Pierre-Yves


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