This review of Vaporum was conducted using a copy of the game given to us by the game’s publisher. This does not affect our judgement of the game in any way and is explained for the purposes of transparency.
Vaporum, released in September of 2017, is a steampunk dungeon crawler, developed and published by Fatbot Games. With a grid-based movement and combat system, Vaporum proves to be a unique concept, while being easy to learn and hard to master.
Vaporum opens with a cutscene, using a great art style. The protagonist awakens on a rock in the middle of the ocean, in front of a giant tower, a machine that he cannot explain. As cliche as it is, the protagonist has lost his memory and so, ventures inside.
The first thing I noted was the audio, as well as the voice acting. As gravelly-voiced as the protagonist is, his voice works quite effectively, conveying confusion to the player. The audio is very immersive, immediately making the player feel like they have ventured into a strange environment.
As mentioned before, the game is set on a grid, with the player being able to rotate on their space, move forward and backwards, as well as strafe. While quite basic, I feel it works effectively for this game. The player is able to interact with the environment using a cursor, allowing the player to discover secrets while proving a challenge. The cursor will often automatically move to items and objects the player can interact with, providing easier use of elements. The cursor will not, however, snap to secret elements, requiring the player to keep a close eye on the details.
Near the start of the game, the player chooses a “Rig,” which confers certain powers to the player, depending on the Rig chosen. This choice is permanent, but, nothing is explained of the bonuses they provide, so players risk picking a Rig that doesn’t benefit their play-style. Some benefits are obvious, however, such as Strength.
Weapons can vary between One-Handed and 2-Handed, with them being blunt, increasing damage on mechanical enemies, or sharp, increasing damage to organic enemies. Ranged weapons are also provided, also being one or two-handed, including pistols, shotguns and rifles, each having different ranges and damage outputs. Ranged weapons generally deal lower damage, but can obviously attack at range, while consuming ammo.
Combat is quite simplistic, with the player being able to attack in range, or melee, while being able to avoid enemy attacks by moving into adjacent spaces, with good timing. Weapons do have different attack speeds, with daggers, for example, attacking faster with less damage and slower weapons, like hammers, having a slower attack speed but increased damage.
Players can also equip shields, giving them the ability to block attacks, based on a flat percentage chance. This chance can be increased by getting better shields or levelling up in blocking.
Vaporum replaces the typical ‘experience’ system, by replacing it with “Fumium,” which is dropped by enemies, or found throughout the game, giving large bonuses. Fumium can be used to upgrade your Rig, by putting points in different skills, depending on the build you play with. By levelling enough in a certain skill, different functions can be added to your Rig, such as the ability to equip more efficient shields. This allows the player to fully customize their loadout and build to the way that they prefer.
The graphics of Vaporum are quite immersive, nothing to write home about, but they are effective and combined with the audio, create a great environment, making you feel like you really are crawling through a steampunk dungeon.
To wrap up, Vaporum brings a fresh take on the dungeon crawler genre, utilizing a grip based system, unique powers, weapons and an interesting story, as well as challenging puzzles and hidden clues, it is worth picking up for those of you who like steam-punk styles or dungeon crawlers!
Vaporum is a steampunk dungeon crawler that brings plenty of new elements to the table. With grid based mechanics and plenty to explore, Vaporum is worth picking up for you dungeon crawling fanatics.