Indie Spanish Developer Finalboss Games’ action-platformer Vesta is set in a post-apocalyptic, high-tech, dungeonesque underground maze factory. Controlled by a highly intelligent AI called MUM, facing adverse robots and solving elaborate puzzles is the key in emerging to the top.
Platform Reviewed: PS4
Platforms Available: PS4, PC, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One
Publisher: Eastasiasoft Limited
Developer: Finalboss Games
Release Date: December 26, 2017
Price: SGD $20.4
This review is based on a review code provided by Eastasiasoft Limited.
Vesta, in Roman religion, was considered a goddess of the hearth, family, and home. I like how ironic this is in relation to the game because aside from that she is the only six-year-old human left, this advanced factory was once the home for humans on a distant planet, supported by robots to help them survive on farce resources. The game begins as spirited little Vesta wakes up and this hovering guide named Bot is giving her instructions on what to do and along the way giving her a little bit of information about the history of the place but mysteriously cuts her off when she asks a little too much. Two questions that really peaked my interest: why was she the only human left and what has she been doing for the last six years? The second question is quite silly, but really. If Bot has to fill her in with all those things that she must do and what the protocol is, has she been sleeping then for the past six years? We’ll see.
As you move past a few levels you will then realize that gameplay is actually quite basic. Vesta has a super backpack that stores energy. She either gets it from nodes or certain types of robots. These energies can be transferred to mechanisms around the factory that either help you open doors, move conveyor belt, platform and lifts. Mind you, you cannot move on to the next level if you can’t maintain certain energy bars. I mentioned earlier that Vesta had to face adverse robots and at times they could be quite dangerous and aggressive. This little girl, as cute as she is, is not equipped to fight these robots. In fact, one shot from these robots and she dies! She does not have any hearts, lives or armor to keep her safe. So what happens now? Well, the game introduces this battle-ready robot named Droid. Not only he can shoot off enemy robots but he can also lift boxes to drop into acid filled pools so Vesta can cross safely to the other side. It also helps her out by stunning the robots giving Vesta the chance to suck their energy and storing them away.
At this point in the game, you now have both Droid and Vesta to control simultaneously and to make it more complex – both characters have to be at the exit to finish the level. It was kind of a nuisance that you cannot just leave one character behind while one roams off and I found this neat trick where I took advantage of the capability of Droid. You see, Droid is pretty strong and Vesta is, well, very tiny. When faced with acid-filled pool and no box to drag, Droid can lift Vesta which looks like it is giving her a piggyback ride, then throws her to the other side so she can cross safely. So this is the trick, if you need to roam around but you don’t want the hassle in switching characters – you will just have to lift Vesta up and start exploring! Pretty neat if you tell me. But you will have to be careful in putting her down because there is no other for Droid to do that but to throw her on the other side and you might want to do that in a platform where it’s safe for Vesta to land. This is also the moment where I feel like I’m playing a kiddie version of BioShock.
Droid looks like the Big Daddy and Vesta looks like the Little Sisters. Hear me out; Little Sisters are young girls genetically modified to gather Adam from corpses around Rapture and this Adam is used for character ability development. This is the same as Vesta harvesting energy to let her proceed to the next level. Little sisters cannot be attacked but are always accompanied by a Big Daddy since they offer no offensive abilities. You name it! Droid is like the Big Daddy, although he doesn’t go all ballistic when Vesta gets hurt but it is there to not only to accompany her but to protect her at any cost.
The essence of the game is not hard to deduce, it’s your typical puzzle and arcade gaming. I must say, the puzzles in this game are woven beautifully with the gameplay. Each level offers short puzzles and gradually adding multiple tiers and several routes to navigate. Not only this encourages the player to make use of the characters best capabilities but you are also forced to split these characters and assist each other from afar. Puzzles are quite satisfying and challenging, however, there’s this glitch that keeps on happening. So whenever Droid throws Vesta on the other side, the trajectory might be correct but at times the distance falls short and she ends up hanging from the side of the pool. There are no other action commands but to walk either side or jump to her death inside the acid pool. Another bug that happens on the same throw is that she lands far-off from the direction I threw her and this is bothersome because there might be a robot that is wandering the area and you have to time it so it won’t land while he is about to blow some bombs. Although restarting is never a bad thing and it is quite easy to go back where you left off, this could get quite frustrating if it’s happening a few times more in a given level.
Action on this game has its own charm as you might have to switch between Vesta and Droid so you can defeat them robots that go wander about. Switching both avatars in a split second test your reaction and wit and one might not nail this on the first few tries so patience is a major key in completing this game. In spite of this, at the end of each stage – a boss fight awaits both Vesta and Droid. This is where the game falls flat. Boss fights should be exciting, challenging as you figure out their weakness, interesting since you will have to study, while attacking, and come up with a strategy but this portion of the game is clunky, worn-out and kind of rushed.
In conclusion, it is not the best indie game out there but it offers solid gameplay that keeps you entertained for hours. If you want a test on patient and wit – this is the game for you. Oh! About the two questions that had me thinking in the beginning? Find out if I got my answers to my questions and let me know what you think about the gameplay.