STAFF REVIEW of Vaporum (Xbox One)

Monday, May 6, 2019.
by Brent Roberts

Vaporum Box art It's been seemingly years since I've had the chance to dive into a dungeon crawling adventure game. Lately I feel that this genre is in desperate need of some fresh blood, and Merge Games has decided to step up and deliver Vaporum from its PC format to the Xbox One platform. Filled with puzzles, enemies and dungeon exploration, Vaporum is poised to deliver a Bioshock-esque steampunk RPG adventure priced at $24.99. Yes, you read that right. Merge Games released a budget friendly, dungeon crawling RPG game that delivers a haunting steampunk environment for $25, and to say I'm excited for this is an understatement. Let's dive right into this and see what we can piece together of Vaporum.

Starting out similar to Bioshock, the story of Vaporum involves you taking control of a man who has no idea who he is, where he is, or more importantly, where everyone else is. This controllable character is who you'll use to navigate the Arx Vaporum. This is a spire like tower where each level constitutes a different map, different enemies, and hopefully provides insight as to the murky details that remain a mystery. This story is propagated by numerous reading materials and audio diaries that try to give more of a backstory behind the Arx Vaporum and its previous inhabitants. I found the overall design of the game itself to be a Bioshock meets Bruce Lee's Game of Death with traps, enemies and an ever growing and shifting layout between levels where the main character tries to discover more about himself and solve an overall mystery. Starting out, Vaporum isn't shy on delivering potential and possibilities for quality gaming.

Even though the character will climb through the Arx Vaporum tower, the story itself will not. This is because the narrative itself isn't very well constructed and/or executed. Yes, the main character does have a full voice script, but whether you're reading it or hearing it, the story must be built that actually makes the reader/gamer want to experience it. This is a tremendous setback because while the environment is set in this dystopian steampunk setting, the story can't match the quality of the environment of the Arx Vaporum. This, however, isn't the only major drawback against Vaporum. The controller gameplay is remarkably poor.

This, I'm willing to wager, is because Vaporum originally was launched on the PC, and when you start factoring in the differences between the mouse and keyboard interaction vs. the console controller input, it seems as though the transition hasn't been good to Vaporum. The gameplay mechanic is setup in a grid style movement system, but the controls feel both hyper-sensitive and clunky, but thankfully you will be able to manage time as needed, turning it into an almost turn based experience, and you'll need it. The combat is incredibly clunky and very challenging as well. This doesn't bode well for your character when you take into account that pushing to rotate the camera one direction will more than likely cause you to rotate two spaces and not face the direction you want to. This is especially bad when you're trying to navigate traps, environmental hazards and fight enemies simultaneously. The other gameplay controls as well feel cumbersome and clunky and all of this was quite honestly the knockout punch of Vaporum.

In Vaporum, instead of leveling up your character, you spend your time leveling up your rig. In the beginning you're going to select between 1 of 4 different rigs, each of which provide their own specialty and range, from your basic tank setup where you go looking for the fight, to traps where you try and navigate your enemies to their doom. These exo-suit rigs are now your lifeblood. Vaporum sports a basic grid inventory system and provides multiple skills that your character can develop throughout your adventure, but ultimately at the end, Vaporum has an uncanny focus on one principle; don't let your rig break down.

All your skills and items won't matter for anything if your rig becomes broken. All this means is that you're going to want to watch your repair kits and the damage you take in combat. While you may want to play a more ranged or crafty style of gameplay, the vast majority of the combat you'll encounter will be up close and rely on you either swinging wildly away with a melee item or shooting a firearm. Whatever the weapon though, get ready for a lot of close quarter combat, which means that there are some rigs that naturally put you behind the 8 ball when you're starting out.

While Vaporum does post some entertaining puzzles, they quickly become more of a change of pace tactic than actually something worthwhile. This sad reality combined with the previous disappointments and letdowns means that in all good conscious, I cannot recommend purchasing this game for $24.99 when you can get better dungeon crawlers for less money. When your game thrives on a quality story and entertaining gameplay mechanics, and both of those areas become lackluster and suffer, thus hindering the enjoyment, then it's time to move on. Vaporum may be set in a steampunk environment, but the game itself ran out of steam.

Overall: 7.0 / 10
Gameplay: 6.0 / 10
Visuals: 8.0 / 10
Sound: 7.0 / 10


Site Statistics

Registered Members: 47,610
Forum Posts: 725,881
Xbox One Titles: 2,478
Xbox 360 Titles: 1,086
Xbox 360 Kinect Titles: 95
Xbox 360 Arcade Titles: 586
Original Xbox Titles: 987
Staff Reviews: 1,974
Member Reviews: 10,339
News Articles: 15,485
Screenshots: 33,531
Xbox 360 Achievements: 45,112
Xbox 360 Faceplates: 2,016
Cheat Codes: 1,706

Latest News

See News Archives

Community Forum Activity

Xbox one no signal
Post by debrartin
0 Replies, 730 Views

do you remember?
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 5691 Views

i haz xbox
Post by SnoochyBoochy
0 Replies, 4169 Views

Claiming the first thread of 2020
Post by Kraft
3 Replies, 18723 Views

Important! I pay $ 1000! I search the Sweden launch and the Element 54 Faceplate
Post by Smill
1 Replies, 15537 Views

Squad Up
Post by samslophead
0 Replies, 30904 Views

TERA Skinned Xbox One X Giveaway!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 33940 Views

Starfield Release expectations?
Post by DJ tx
4 Replies, 67277 Views

Issue with Xbox live on Xbox home
Post by rcmpayne
0 Replies, 42323 Views

Happy Birthday, Me.
Post by SnoochyBoochy
4 Replies, 53848 Views

Xbox Playdates Canada October, 2018 Play date info thread.
Post by Kiesey
2 Replies, 16714 Views

2 Giveaways! Bridge Constructor Portal AND Tempest 4000!
Post by Variation-XBA
0 Replies, 15490 Views

Xbox Playdates Canada September, 2018 Playdates info thread.
Post by Kiesey
3 Replies, 6905 Views

No topics about Xbox 360? Want to play FC3 or BFH?
Post by AddMeForCoOp
2 Replies, 29772 Views

Xbox Playdates Canada August, 2018 Playdate info thread.
Post by Kiesey
5 Replies, 7216 Views

© 2000-2020 - All rights reserved. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners.
Xbox is a registered trademark of Microsoft. is not affiliated with Microsoft.

Made in Canada
Site Design by Cameron Graphics