Thursday, March 1, 2012

Vessel Demo Impressions

Does anyone recall when I wrote about Vessel before? It is a physic based side scrolling puzzle platformer for PC that puts you in control of a great inventor, an inventor that created FLURO. His creation is a liquid based being that is used for labor all over the world and it made his famous. After a while these beings started to malfunction and cause problems. The game starts with a FLURO locking you out of your lab. The whole first section is about getting your equipment back and getting back into your lab. The demo focuses on the first part of this and it will last you about twenty minutes, that is twenty minutes if you manage to understand every single puzzle immediately and you don't have to figure out what to do. It also introduces two different variations of FLURO, one that is created from water and one that is created from lava. There are other FLURO types in the game, that act different and have different A.I., but the demo just shows off the first and most basic type. Throughout the game you also unlock different equipment and will eventually have quite a few options when trying to solve an advanced puzzle. Vessel just came out on Steam and it is currently 10% off, which would make it $13.49 instead of $15. Read on for my brief impressions.

The above screenshot is from the demo and it shows one of the more simple tasks in the game. Using water to subdue the lava long enough to get across to the other side. That is hardly innovative when it comes to a platformer, but the physics even on this most simple task make it an interesting one. The task borders on annoying, but the challenge of the task is a result of the flow of physics between the lava and the water. Watching the water and lava battle each other and having different results each time is quite interesting. Not knowing whether or not you can step across, unless you absolutely submerge the entire conveyor belt in water, adds a bit of excitement to this simple task. By the time you reach the end of the demo you start to find these types of simple tasks disappearing and the tasks start to become more complicated and the puzzle solutions become more subtle. If they game keeps up this pace throughout while still introducing new FLURO types, new equipment and new environments then it could turn out to be a very entertaining puzzle platformer. The graphics are fitting and you will always notice a bit going on, but many of the backdrops are static motionless pieces that offset the foreground. Sometimes it makes you feel as if you the graphics are poor, but there are other area's that show that this indie game can look quite good at times, not in comparison to something like Battlefield 3, but in comparison to other platformers. The sound effects are all very fitting and the music by Jon Hopkins is relaxing and well made. I also really like how they handled your journal, which gives you information about the world, your equipment and hints at how to get through areas.

Take a look at this video to see some later sections of the game and to hear some of the great music. I'm not sold on the game, but it does leave me very interested and curious. Do check it out. Thanks for reading.
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-Written by Sean Cargle


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