Vaporum has just been released on the Nintendo Switch, is a grid-based dungeon crawling game by Fatbot Games, and is steampunk themed. The game is nostalgic in some essences, and brings a Bioshock and Legend of Grimlock feel. If you are feeling up for the challenge, Vaporum is for you!
Game & Story
Vaporum starts out with a unique art-style story-telling mode, where the character is stranded in the ocean and is drawn to a large tower, where a mystery erupts. Without knowing it, he becomes the hero of the story, as we look to discover this puzzling tower, and world. It also seems that our main character isn’t even sure who he is anymore, and this journey is also about his discovery.
There are so many game options when starting your game, some of them include:
- Difficulty (Casual, Easy, Normal, Hard, Brutal)
- Old School Mode (“This mode disables the automap. Pen & paper are as good as ever.”)
- Elite Mode (Disables manual saving)
- Movement Type (Classical, old-school step based movement, or Continuous, more fluid)
- Stop Time Mode Available (On/Off)
- Game Tips (On/Off)
For this review, I played it on Casual difficulty, with Old School Mode disabled, Movement Type set to Continuous, with Stop Time Mode on, alongside Game Tips. I’m personally not acquainted well with this type of game, and wanted to have an easier time!
The game is very straight-forward. It’s a first-person game that is on a grid dungeon, where you can interact with objects, solve puzzles, and fight enemies. The goal is to survive through the tower and discover the mysteries inside. This game is both a casual game, and also very intense. It can go from a run of calm to complete chaos with new enemies approaching and not always having the best solution. There is tons of loot to get, alongside character customization to make your run much more personalized.
One of the major ones you can customize your gameplay is by picking one of four rigs that you’d prefer to use. These could be considered your ‘classes’ within Vaporum, including Thauma Rig, Assault Rig, Combat Rig, and Heavy Rig. To play the game you must choose one, and then you can progress further into the tower. Below you can see the exact screenshots from the Switch on how the rigs change the gameplay.
Graphics and Soundtrack
The graphics and soundtrack for Vaporum are very spot-on. They bring out the steampunk vibe that the game has so greatly embraced. When I first started playing it, my mind immediately went to Bioshock, as my first steampunk experience. From there I can tell that the game is much more than that, and has so much consideration with the narration and the sound effects. I was so immersed within the game because of how the graphics and soundtrack compliment each other.
If the soundtrack and graphics weren’t enough for you, the enemies also express the steampunk vibe. They are mechanical beings in the beginning, that are both ground-based, and ranged flying. Meaning you have to take care on how you approach them, and what strategy you utilize. As you progress through the game, the enemies become more complicated and lethal, adding the ‘dungeon crawling’ aspect more so.
Controls & Text
In our Nintendo Switch version, I personally found the controls both complicated and simple. In some instances, using the ‘cursor’ was difficult when selecting objects and puzzle pieces. In other instances, the movement and aiming was much easier. I would assume the game is much more fluid on the PC since the keyboard and mouse is more precise.
My only major complaint with Vaporum is that on the Switch version the text is unbearably small. I played a portion of the game in hand-held mode, and I found myself hunching over to read the text with my face to the screen. With the Switch docked it’s much more manageable but also still quite difficult.
While dungeon crawling games are not my forte, Vaporum was very fun to play. Being new to the genre, the game options were very welcoming to my game preferences, to the point where I was able to play it and not become frustrated. I think one of the biggest benefits to having Vaporum on the Switch is the mobility. Whether you’re sitting at home, or on the go Vaporum can be a casual game you boot up and explore, but can put it down at a fast pace. Personally, I would consider this a more casual game on the Switch.
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