By Henry Badilla / March 1st, 2018
|Release Date||January 19th, 2018|
|Platform||PS4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch|
For me videogames have always been an escape. While that may sound bad, it’s cool to be able to disconnect from the outside world and pretend to be someone else for a while. And yet I never thought I would end up being a 6 year-old girl with a robot friend solving puzzles, trying to find out what happened to humanity. But I also was a boulder once and controlled some germs another time so Vesta is not the weirdest game I have played.
Vesta puts you in the shoes of a child named Vesta that has lived all her life inside an artificial world. BOT is her only companion at first and her caretaker who sends her on a quest to reach the top of the building where they live to find the answers to all of her questions. These include what happened to humans, why everything is in ruins, and who M.U.M is, an entity that BOT mentions constantly but she has never met.
As part of her journey, DROID will join us as both a friend and assistant to be able to resolve the many puzzles that make this game. At its heart Vesta is a puzzle game divided into 36 different levels, organized into 4 chapters. And while a certain level of combat is involved it acts more like another part of the puzzle, but first let me explain how the core game works.
During the game you will control Vesta, who can take the energy from machines and stunned enemies and store up to three bulbs of energy in her backup. She can also give this energy to other machines to activate them. You can also control DROID that can shoot a missile that will stun enemies for a while, move crates, and throw Vesta to reach higher or faraway places. DROID can also carry Vesta so you can move them both at the same time.
Most levels consist of defeating the enemies by attacking them with DROID, so Vesta can collect their energy, and use it to activate switches which enable the platforms required to reach the end of the level. These will need you to have 3 pieces of energy saved to open the door to the next level. The concept is really simple, but as you progress through the game more obstacles will be presented, like giant fans that can cause Vesta to fall off the stage, or having DROID and Vesta start on different areas so you have to find a way to unite them in order to defeat the enemies and collect their energy.
Each level can take around 5 minutes to complete once you know how, but as with many puzzle games the joy comes from that eureka moment when you finally figure out what to do. And while the game is not particularly hard, some puzzles will take some time to figure out.
Even though new hazards and elements are introduced after each chapter, Vesta and DROID will remain the same through the whole game, which can make things feel a bit repetitive after a while. Personally I feel that the game works best if played in small bites instead of trying to finish it all at once. And while the game doesn’t track the completion time, I feel it took me around 8 to 10 hours to beat.
And while the main focus of the game comes from the puzzles, the story is actually quite engaging. At the beginning of some levels we will see certain cutscenes or conversations between Vesta and BOT, whom at first acts as her caretaker, but its actions will cause Vesta to start having suspicions about something more that may be going on behind these trials. Also we will encounter other discontinued robots which will discuss different topics. One robot believes that Vesta is a communist, for example, and others will go into deeper topics like life’s meaning and one’s purpose in life.
And while the main topic is finding what happened to mankind in this world, the addition of these other themes to the narrative really helps it stand-out from other sci-fi games. And while, yes, the concept of robots discussing their purpose in life is not new, I enjoyed the way that these topics were presented in the game.
At the beginning of each chapter there are also some cutscenes in which the story is narrated with the use of comic panels and illustrations. I really liked the art style used on these scenes and I would prefer that this style was used through the rest of the game. My only complaint is that these scenes are too fast so you barely have time to read the speech bubbles.
The graphics of the game and art direction are pretty standard. They work fine and the enemy designs are a bit uninspired but they get the work done. Some levels feel too dark for my taste but it adds to the aura of desolation that the game is going for. The music is in general very quiet, but some of the later stages had some catchy tunes. Due to the nature of the game you may not notice it at first, but if you pay attention the music is really nice.
Vesta is out now for $10 which is more than a fair price for the amount of fun that you will get out of it. While there is not a lot of replayability, as the only collectibles are quite easy to find in the game, this is a solid puzzle game with an interesting story. If you’re like me and enjoy some puzzle solving between your princess saving and monster hunting, give this one a try, you won’t regret it.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
FinalBoss Gamesnintendo switchPS4puzzleSteamVestaXbox One