Vostok Inc. Review

Oh, Gordon Gecko. Who knew that you would be such an iconic hero to so many? In all seriousness, there’s probably a bit of a bad taste in the mouth of Michael Douglas that such a reprehensible character became an actual blueprint for how some people live their lives. But the ideas of being greedy and chasing capitalism all the way to the top aren’t new or even strange in the world today, so why not poke a little fun at them?

Vostock Inc. puts you in the shoes of the new CEO of the titular Vostok, a company whose sole purpose is to get mind-bendingly wealthy. There’s a lot of ways to do that, probably. But we’re not looking to get rich eventually or get rich someday, we want to be rich NOW. And the best thing is to strip mine as many planets as humanly possible to get to the top. Naturally, we have to start in our own backyard (sorry, Neptune!) but, with some cash and some serious technological investment, we can jump dimensions, take our business across the universe and pump the cash out of everything that we lay our eyes upon. Ironically, in this game, you take the role of the Ashajul, but, instead of wanting to fight everything, you just want to own everything, monopoly style.

Vostok Inc. is fully aware how ridiculous the concept of the game you’re playing is, and never takes a moment to relent from poking fun at itself. From the chintzy graphics to your assistant constantly barking non sequiturs and gaming references across your screen, this is a silly title, and that’s not a bad thing. A game where you’re ultimately looking to bleed the resources out of every planet EVER in order to become richer needs to have a hook to it, and humor is just one avenue that we travel down. The fact that you immediately piss off the intergalactic version of the Mob (here called UFOS) is even better, because your quest for wealth means muscling in on where other types of heinous activities are happening, and that simply cannot be tolerated. And that, thankfully, is where Vostok takes a serious right turn away from being a simple “grind for cash” game.

I was actually really happy with the ship fighting that happens in Vostok. Starting out as a fairly small ship with pithy weapons, you can upgrade and class up your device to deliver a much wider array of weapons, all of which you will need in order to defeat the “boss” of each solar system. Besides the weapons themselves, powering up your ships shields, life meter and general speed help you out immensely. There’s an impossibly expensive upgrade that even allows your ship to slow down time for a bit, and it’s worth every penny…if you could get it earlier in the game. By the time you can afford it, either your ship is already crazy powerful OR you simply can take enough hits to not care about turning the tides of war yourself. But be warned: while death isn’t permanent, dying does take half your cash, and it sucks. A lot.

Speaking of strip mining planets (we weren’t but whatever), cash comes in the form of installing stronger and stronger machines to generate cash per second in greater amounts. Of course, in order to get this cash, you have to go back to each planet and collect it by hand, which is taxing. You can pay to install an ATM (an acronym here which isn’t what you think it is) but those become increasingly more expensive. It’s highly advisable to save your first ATM purchase until you’re into the second star system, because putting it on the Milky Way results in things being hilariously expensive by the time you get to the end game, which, spoiler, is in a galaxy far, far away. Not Star Wars. I just mean that it’s literally very far and not worth trekking back to the Milky Way every time you need to cash things out.

What ultimately makes Vostok Inc work, however, is the overall aesthetic. As we mentioned up top, the Wall Street vibe is strong and comical throughout, and everything from the music to the colors is done up in future retro fashion. The poppy and beep-laden synth soundtrack kept everything properly “space” for me, and I loved getting glimpses of how Vostok Inc as a company was doing. There was also a good amount of care that went into making sure this game ran well on the Nintendo Switch: I’ve seen that there were several complaints of slowdown and lag on the PC, and I didn’t notice any myself in this console version. The HD rumble was incredibly persistent, however, especially when dealing with asteroids, so mind that your hands don’t go numb in the process.

When a game’s plot is simply “get rich,” there isn’t a ton to say, but Vostok Inc says it properly and in a good amount of time. If you enjoy some serious Moolah hoarding combined with a bit of space fighting, you’re definitely on the right path. Vostok Inc. is fun, memorable, and executes its mission statement with proper synergy and company-wide support. Remember kids: even in the far, far reaches of space, greed is good.

REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to editor@bonusstage.co.uk.

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