This title was reviewed on Nintendo Switch, but is also available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Vaporum is the dungeon crawling RPG with old school RPG elements. The greatest thing about Vaporum is that it has a fresh feel and can also be played without all the extra features that you would typically see in an old school dungeon crawler. This is great for new players just starting out in the genre who aren’t quite ready for the pen and paper elements. For all the veterans of the genre you are able to turn on these features such as old school mode where the auto-map will become disabled and you will have to use your pen and paper to map the game out.
The game starts with a small cut scene depicting your character outside a massive tower, and upon the game starting you will discover over time that your character does not know what this place is or even who he is.
The thing I learnt quite quickly was to explore every nook and cranny as you will be able to find secret areas containing some pretty sweet items to help you out on your journey. As with any dungeon crawler, there are monsters, and Vaporum is no different. But before you get into repeatedly bashing your left button, you will have to choose a rig for your character to get into. Each rig has different qualities, such as higher damage or toughness. This adds to the re-playability of the game as you can start a new play through with a different rig. I opted for the combat rig as I like to end my enemies as soon as possible.
The enemies themselves are machines, and some will be right in your face attacking you, and some will attack from afar. Combat is pretty straight forward, along the way you will also encounter gadgets to equip, which you can then use to help take out enemies. For example, one of the earliest ones you will get is an electric shock wave which will damage enemies around you. After using a gadget, it will need to recharge, and it will consume some of your energy. I really enjoy this feature as it adds depth to the combat.
I was quite surprised at the start of the game as I’m used to creating my own character and choosing their attributes before proceeding into an RPG. In Vaporum you will level up, and this is instead where you will choose what weapons you want to favour by putting skill points into the perks tree of each weapon. If you want to fight ranged only, with a long sword, or even dual-wielding, this is how you will enable your preferred play style.
Now, I mentioned in the introduction that there are two things that you can do to increase the difficulty of the game. Whether you play on easy, or for the more seasoned players, brutal mode, you will also be able to choose whether you want to play with old school mode on (removing the automap) or not. Turning off automap means you will have to get out a pen and paper to map it out as you go along. You can also toggle on and off elite mode, which disables to ability to save whenever you wish. Instead it will only save at the start of each level.
Sound and Graphics
The sound is very atmospheric and a bit dark. Even just the sounds effects of walking through the building sounds creepy due to the echoing and the metal creaking throughout. The graphics are pretty good, as it looks great and the enemy models are superb. It has a very dark visual style, and this emphasises the Steam Punk feel, incorporating into the great atmospheric feel of the game.
Vaporum is a great game aside from the clunkiness (which could be on the Switch only). The atmosphere and graphics style are amazing, and the combat is tense. The mysterious nature of the game really sucks you in and makes you want to keep playing. The ability to change between old-school dungeon crawler game modes and the new mode is a great way to cater to a wide audience and appeal to whatever mood you happen to be in at the time of starting the game. I would recommend Vaporum to anyone wanting to try a dungeon crawler game, or for veterans looking for a dungeon crawler fix with the ability to choose a high difficulty.