A grid-based dungeon-crawler, filled with puzzles and dark lore.
Vaporum: Lockdown by Fatbot Games is a grid-based single-player dungeon crawler in an original steampunk setting, inspired by classics such as Dungeon Master and Eye of the Beholder, or the new Legend of Grimrock series. The game was already successfully released on PC, Mac, and Linux, and is now released for the Switch on March 22, 2021. Vaporum: Lockdown, a prequel to critically acclaimed Vaporum, expands on everything that made the original game great and one of a kind in dungeon crawling.
Vaporum starts us with a beautiful story of a girl and her father. How science was almost magic, everything he touched had some amazing purpose or trick. Ellie was always enthralled by the science and work that her father was doing, always reaching out to become a part of his world. In this prequel to Vaporum, we follow the undying curiosity of Ellie.
”Sacrifice in order to progress”
Time goes on as she became the woman she was born to be, always coming home to find her father hunched over his work. Until one day, a letter came. This letter propelled her father to do the one thing that is required of all progress. He sacrificed, he sacrificed his family and everything he loved. Leaving his life behind, he left to the Bureau to continue to research keywords like ”fomium” and ”Katkennuk”. That piece of paper would change Ellie’s life forever, her father leaving her behind, who she was more alike than he would know. He had left Ellie as a young girl, to continue his research into the Ark Vaporum.
Ellie continues on with her life and goes to school and graduates from her university studies. After years of working on the strangest projects, she gets seen by an older teacher who can see the potential rising in the student. This is where her mentor comes to Ellie with a proposal, to join the research her father was once a part of. To join the VaporumArk, quickly she snatched this opportunity up and made her way into the Ark Tower.
Cut to a shift in the Tower- a regular occurrence for Ellie this time, testing out a new RIG suit. She is helped by her office engineer in navigating through the elevators, moving deeper into the Ark Vaporum tower. Ellie has to venture into the tower and work her way through the puzzles. Connecting teleporters and fighting mechanical spiders along the way can become very stressful within the grid-lock dungeon crawl.
This gameplay leans on our brain being teased over and over again with the puzzles it can conduct. With the grid-style gameplay for movement, the puzzles can become very difficult. As for the actual difficulty of the game itself, it can be changed into five different levels of difficulty. (I played this game on the casual difficulty, to enjoy the story and learn about grid-style Dungeon Crawler games.) Even though the difficulty of the game can be changed, the puzzles will remain the same throughout each level.
Overall this game offered a fun little story that expanded and continues on from its predecessor ‘Vaporum‘. The dark environment of the game works well with where the random enemies sprout from. The only thing that really bothered me with this game, is that there were random holes in the wall or pitfalls with spikes at the bottom that really didn’t have anything to do with the rest of the game. An easy fix for this would have been instead of spikes, putting unused electricity or overused batteries that spark and electrocute.