Game Review: Vessel

Mechanical robots? Made from metal? HA! Too mainstream. I prefer my mass produced beings to be made of water. And how about a futuristic setting? Oh no… Let’s have everything steampunk. Now where would I find such a game? Oh, look, we have Vessel, a new indie game on Steam.

Game Review : Vessel

This is a really clever 2D side-scrolling physics game, which is set in what looks like the industrial era: steam engines, coal, and everyone wears goggles on their head. You are the inventor of a new mass produced worker drone, known as Fluro Workers. They are purely of water, with basic drone A.I. They are able to perform simple tasks put in front of them, and it’s your job to traverse through the various puzzles using the Fluro’s capabilities, and the physics of water. Clever idea, and makes for a very interesting premise. I was interested straight away when I saw the opening cut scene.

Now, you’ll probably be thinking water won’t be that useful in any game… Well, my friend, you are mistaken. Just like real life, the water in Vessel has its own mass and density. It can influence many objects in the world if used correctly. For example, it can be used to move switches, cushion your fall, and even build new Fluro workers. In my opinion, this game has some of the best water effects I have ever seen. It act and feels like actual water, instead of just a swirly pile of pixels.

I have to give credit for something I found refreshing in the game; it doesn’t shovel constant tutorials down your throat. It gives you a small notice about what the controls are in game, but it doesn’t go out of its way to show you how to play the game. For example, I was travelling down some catacombs, advancing to another part of the workshop. As I was travelling further onwards, I saw various Fluro workers leap from chasm to chasm, and on some occasions, they collided with my character.

While it may not seem much, but to me, it’s showing you how your character can influence the liquid, as the Fluro collapsed into a pile of water. The game doesn’t actively tell you this fact; you find this out on your own. There’s no text box blocking the screen shouting, “LOOK! LOOK! THE WATER MAN FELL OVER! THAT COULD BE HANDY! YOU’RE TOO STUPID TO FIGURE IT OUT!” You find out yourself how you can manipulate the environment, which means when you complete a puzzle, you gain a sense of independence and accomplishment.

eight out of tenThis has been a very interesting game to play. It’s brings some good innovation, an engaging playing experience, and a great challenge throughout. Though playing a game about water did make me very thirsty throughout.

Developed by : Strange Loop Games
Platform: Steam (coming to Xbox LIVE Arcade and PlayStation Network soon)
Price: $14.99

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