Wednesday, January 31, 2018

VESTA (Switch) Review

VESTA (the game) stars Vesta (the character) and her robot friend Droid as they make their way from the bottom of the facility to the surface.  Along they way they will both use their unique abilities to make it through each stage, carrying enough energy to power their way to the next.

Both characters have different functions to get through the levels.  Vesta can drain energy from generators and robots, and then give that energy to other generators.  This allows doors to open, platforms to move, and conveyor belts to turn on.  She is also small enough to fit in tunnels strewn about the various levels.  Droid, being much bigger and stronger, can move boxes, block some environmental traps, and throw Vesta across gaps.  It can also shoot out missiles, which can incapacitate enemy robots, allowing Vesta to drain their energy.

As mentioned before, both characters have to reach the end area to complete the stage.  For most of the stages, Vesta will also need to have full energy in her pack.  This is usually the trickiest part of the game, but once you realize that, it is much easier to plan for.  Levels don't have a time limit, so it's not an issue to backtrack for the energy, or look around when you don't know where to go.  The story is separated into 4 chapters, each with 8 levels and 1 boss fight.  Several stages have a checkpoint that you will start over at if one of your characters dies.  Droid can take 3 hits, but Vesta can only take one...and can't fall down very far.  Also, later stages have floor panels that fall after you walk on them, which can strand you.  Thankfully, you will always be able to complete the stage from the checkpoint state if and when you die or have to restart a stage.

While the game is mostly charming and fun, there are some drawbacks.  The puzzles aren't overly difficult, but occasionally it can be hard to tell where you are supposed to go.  I had a major obstruction on a level in chapter 2, where I needed to have both characters go through a door at the same time.  I had tried to have them both go in the door separately, and the level didn't end.  For some reason, this is also one of maybe two stages that doesn't end with both characters reaching an elevator.  I've also missed a platform or two if it is from the bottom of the screen.

Hit detection isn't always that accurate, either.  When trying to hit an enemy with one of Droid's missiles, they sometimes brush the target, leaving it unaffected.  However, environmental obstructions must be given a wide berth, or your missile will hit it and explode.  If you pass by an enemy with Vesta, they will sometimes attack a different direction completely, and still hit and kill her.  If hit detection were consistent, I could at least plan for it better.  Lastly, I did run into some bugs when falling into pits.  Most times it is just being stuck below the ledge, but not fully in the pit.  One time I was able to run around under the stage.

VESTA isn't a very long game, only lasting a few hours, but it is pretty fun.  There isn't much replay value, though.  Each non-boss stage has secret items to find, but as far as I can tell, they don't actually do anything.  Maybe the PS4 version has trophies for them?  Anyway, the game has some problems, but they are relatively minor.  It's an interesting puzzle game that is worth trying for even casual puzzle fans.

The Good:
An interesting puzzle game that doesn't overstay its welcome.

The Bad:
Enemy hit detection feels off.

The SaHD:
The story is pretty interesting, but easy to miss.  I think I've got it down for the most part, but it would have been nice to unlock the back story messages in the menu so I would know if I was missing anything.

(Review code for VESTA was received from the publisher)

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