Games of the Year

Vaporum – Lockdown

Vaporum – Lockdown Screenshot 1
Vaporum – Lockdown Screenshot 2
Vaporum – Lockdown Screenshot 3
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Vaporum – Lockdown Screenshot 5
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Vaporum: Lockdown is a prequel to the award-winning steampunk dungeon crawler Vaporum. It is a grid-based, single-player, single-character game, seen from a first-person perspective in an original steampunk setting, and inspired by old-school games like Dungeon Master I and II, the Eye of the Beholder series, and the more recent Legend of Grimrock I and II. Vaporum: Lockdown follows the story of Ellie Teller, a scientist who is a part of a mysterious research project in the middle of an ocean. Following disastrous events, she struggles to survive and escape the tower of Arx Vaporum. Key Features First person real-time combat Unique Stop Time Mode Puzzles and level-wide objectives Gadget-based RPG system Lots of exploration, loot, and character customization Mysterious storyline filled with secrets Fully voiced main characters Immersive steampunk setting You will encounter nasty enemies with unique strengths and attack patterns. To beat them, you will have to employ a broad array of weapons, gadgets, upgrades, and smart tactics. Fortunately, there's plenty of powerful toys to play with. Many different weapon types, each with a specific use, synergistic armor pieces, gadgets that allow you to raise your own army of underlings or to manipulate the battlefield, boosters, and more.
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Game Discussion

Review by Anonymous
Review from Steam

Vaporum: Lockdown is a bit of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, there are things I thought it handled better than the original, but on the other, there are some things I think it handled worse. For the majority of the game, the combat was a lot less "invasive"/omnipresent than it was in the original title, which I thought was a step up. However, to make up for it, the developer has stuffed the game with puzzles...not only more puzzles, but harder, more time-consuming puzzles. I saw a discussion board post or a review reply (can't recall which) from the developer where it listed the number of puzzles, and Lockdown only has maybe 15% more puzzles than the original game. However, as I stated, the puzzles take a lot longer to solve.
I found myself sighing and wandering around trying to figure out various mandatory puzzles. Also, any hazards you touch while solving puzzles are (to my recollection) always instant death, so brute forcing a couple at a cost of healing items to recover simply isn't an option. Moreover, a lot of the puzzles are more "anal" than puzzles in other games. Puzzle games like Portal and Portal 2 are nothing but puzzles, but given the game length, the variety in the puzzles, and the "wiggle room" you have to solve some of the puzzles, it's not as taxing/draining on the player's patience and enjoyment of the game. With Lockdown, however, it makes you potentially spend half an hour or so just moving 3 pushable boxes or mirror podiums around a small room to needlessly pad out the "runtime" of the game. Puzzles need to feel fun and fresh, but well before the end of this game, I was frowning at each puzzle I came across, just wanting to be done with the game by that point. Heck, the first game's combat was excessive in my opinion, but in Lockdown, I was glad every time I entered a large combat room because after killing everything, such rooms generally either didn't have puzzles, or had the puzzles that could be solved the quickest. I was happy for "the lesser of two evils," as it were.
Character progression is effectively the same as the original game, though this one adds the "Minions" category. However, they die like flies without being upgraded, and the upgrades only double their health from what I saw...so I wasn't about to spend my precious upgrade points on something so experimental. Many stat bonuses come from chests hidden in secrets, though I must confess that I did like how secrets were handled *better* in Lockdown than in the original game. In the original, far too often, secrets were things you would never even know were there unless you went "pixel-hunting" along every wall, checking for a single bolt that was out of place. This is very time-consuming and I don't find it fun at all. However, in Lockdown. while some secrets were still rather vexing to know even existed, many of the secrets featured chests or visible locations which the player could not reach despite having gone everywhere around the visible locale. In almost every such circumstance, you can then search within roughly 6 spaces of the outer edge of where the hidden area should be, and find the secret switch.
I like to call this "the Metroidvania approach to obtaining secrets." By that, I mean that the game will dangle the thing you want in front of you, but it's up to you to figure out how to get it. I'm not psychic, so just expecting me to "know" a secret is in a particular set of rooms and that's where I should be searching...well, that's just not reasonable to expect, and makes any rational player either A) not bother trying to get the secrets at all, or B) just use a walkthrough to find all of them because it's not fair in the first place. In the original game, I ultimately went with option B after being disgusted by the sheer volume of chests completely hidden with me having no way of knowing even the *area* that they're in to try to start looking for a secret switch. Just searching a couple of rooms for a switch is a fair bit of work in and of itself, so having to search the entire floor of the tower with zero hints is a time-waster and not likely to be enjoyable for a fair number of players. This was a big improvement for Lockdown, in my opinion.
Although I did like the less-frequent heavy combat in Lockdown compared to the original (or maybe there was the same amount of combat but the overly-long puzzles spaced it out more?), the very end of the game has another boss fight...and it lasts far too long for me to enjoy it. And that's with me not getting hit all that much in the first phase. The boss heals itself when it hits you, so that's an even longer fight every time you take damage. In addition to that, this first part of the boss battle feels similar to the boss battle of the original game, then the final part of the fight is added on where it finally has a unique mechanic using a gadget (i.e. the "spells" of the setting) introduced minutes prior in the game with only like two or three uses prior to that fight. I was excited, but as soon as that gimmick became a part of the boss fight, it was removed from the fight by the time I took off perhaps twenty percent of the boss' maximum health. From then on, the boss fight was rather generic, but with decent visuals. Quite frankly, I was so peeved and tired from all of the puzzles that I was hoping there wouldn't even be a boss fight at all, but I digress.
Narratively, I only remember bits and pieces of the first game's story, though compared to what I do recall of it, I like Lockdown better; especially its ending and getting to play as a character who has almost no memory loss. The original game's plot rode on the coattails of BioShock a bit much, in my opinion, for the first couple of hours or so, whereas Lockdown never gave me that vibe. I enjoyed the writing overall, though I do have one gripe: characters using present day lingo which simply does not jive with the 1800s steampunk vibe or the rest of the journal entries and audio logs. I didn't make notes of each time it happened, though I do recall being dumbfounded by a character calling someone a "douche." The term did not begin a slang word until the 1960s. I realize this is a fictional setting, but such verbiage clashes with the cultural zeitgeist otherwise alluded to and shown in the game from speech and manner of dress.
All in all, the game is pretty good with a few improvements over the original, but I cannot deny that I did not enjoy the boss fights at the end, and I will scowl thinking back on how much of a pain some of Lockdown's puzzles were. I wish I had tips and better knowledge of how to design this genre of game to alleviate these issues, though I can't even begin to imagine. I just know a problem when i experience it. Ultimately, the game is a success, but a flawed one, as even the people who like this game generally have some issues with it. While I do hope that the developer profits from this product since it is reviewing decently, I would also hope that the developer aims to improve its formula in the future to be even more successful than it already has. I do recommend this game, though it is not a very strong recommendation due to the dissatisfying boss fight and the sensation of drowning in puzzles, and not in a good way like in a Portal game.

Review from Steam

What Grimrock 2 was to Grimrock 1, Lockdown is to Vaporum. It improves on a good game in every way: More puzzles, more enemies (though not as many as I would have liked) and is less linear. Play the first Vaporum game first though.
It's still not as good as the Grimrock games but it's still a worthy entry in the Dungeon Crawler genre and worth your time. Especially if you can get it on sale.

Review from Steam

I have some mixed feelings about this one. At first glance it looks and feels like a mod for the first game, made of its assets. The more I dive in, the more I realize it's rather a full-scaled addon, an optional campaign if you like. Despite few shenanigans like some weird story writing and replaced voice actors, the game is still possess rich atmosphere and is enjoyable, without any doubts. The gameplay is more fluid, far less arena\traprooms compared to first game, the onces that present give you an option to escape them and fight enemies normally. Puzzles are decent, not obvious, not hard.
Overall it's a really nice addition to the first game, worth its price in full. If you liked the first game and are a fan of "dungeon crawrler" genre, get this game without any doubts and you won't regret.
And maybe gift it to your friends to support developpers of such nice, yet niche titles.

Review from Steam

nice little dungeon gridder, Still doesn't play as smoothly or as cleanly as Grimrock but it does the job.

Review from Steam

Game is improved in every aspect. Lore is good and straightforward, puzzles are hard for extra content but just right to move you forward, classes are balanced and interesting and the environment is just great.

Review from Steam

Vaporum, round 2! If you liked the first, you will enjoy this one for sure! Dungeon crawler with even more complex puzzles. I recommend this one. I would say play the first one first, then this one, the story will be understandable I believe.

Review from Steam

Good LoGlike game. I enjoyed the puzzles and didn't find any of them too difficult. There's a few timing puzzles that seem like you're supposed to do them one way but there's another much easier way to do them if you are a little creative. None of the timing puzzles were difficult once you find that alternate way.

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