Vaporum: Lockdown is an enticing steampunk dungeon crawler RPG developed and published by Fatbot Games and the prequel to Vaporum. The developers were inspired by the classics of the genre like Eye of Beholder and the more recent Legend of Grimrock.
Follow the story of a scientist trying to escape a catastrophe in our Vaporum: Lockdown quick hit review.
The game features first-person real-time combat that takes place in an enclosed space with clear movement along the grid. At the same time, the game provides players with a unique time-stopping mechanic that allows for safe switching of weapons or a moment to breathe and think through your next steps before the enemy can catch you in a trap.
The steampunk aesthetic of the game adds a certain charm and an air of mysteriousness to the locations. The multitude of talented voice actors is very pleasing to one’s ears and the option for subtitles allows for an easier time to get into the story of the game.
Some potential players might be worried about how welcoming Vaporum: Lockdown is to newcomers, being a sequel – would the story still be interesting and coherent to those who have not tried out the new game? You would be happy to know that the game doesn’t require you to have tried out the prequel to enjoy the plot twists and the mysterious explorations featured in Lockdown.
The game follows the story of a scientist named Ellie Teller who takes part in some kind of research at the Arx-Vaporum station located in the middle of the ocean. After a malfunction in the central laboratory, the station experiences its own version of the rise of the machines. The problem affects the mechanisms of the station, access to proviant, and much, much more. Later players will learn that the station carried out genetic experiments without informing ordinary employees like our protagonist.
A fundamental part of gameplay requires players to survive at any cost. Ellie will have to wade through a myriad of corridors filled with dangerous traps, clear the premises of the station of poisonous gas, fight against mutated rats that can jump out of the ventilation holes, battle with drones that were technically supposed to protect the staff, and much more.
While wandering through the station, players will also have to solve riddles that range from very simple to very, very hard that will have you wracking your brain in order to figure out the solution. Also, expect to be carrying a bunch of keys with you as each key only opens one door. You will find them scattered around the map: some will be laying around in the lockers, others, more interesting ones, might require you to look closer around various hiding places.
I advise you to check the map often because there are usually several routes taking you to various rooms as well as secret locations that might contain something useful. Sometimes I would approach a place I thought contained a cache of goodies only to discover it is nothing but a concrete wall. Those little moments can upset you greatly, especially if you had to go through a mile-long corridor filled with various traps and enemies.
In the beginning of the game, you start your journey with a regular exosuit that can be improved in a variety of ways to your liking: leveling up skills, adding runes such as lightning, fire or cold.
The developers made it possible to use both the melee weapons such as swords, hammers, wrenches, etc. as well as the long-range weaponry such as rifles, plasma cannons and more. I personally preferred ranged combat and thus always had a couple of guns in my inventory. Runes and plasma weapons use energy so you have to keep an eye on it during combat. Energy is naturally restored over time but you can also use energy capsules for a much-needed boost.
Vaporum: Lockdown can draw you in with its interesting storyline and exciting gameplay, the team polished the game to the smallest details. I enjoyed my time in Arx-Vaporum very much, even if I did run into difficulties with the map and some of the riddles.
Note: the Steam key was provided by the developer for the purposes of this review.
- Dynamic combat
- Rewarding exploration
- Atmosphere & story
- The leveling system
- Boss battle difficulty