With an extremely promising start, a few hours of playtime will show you that Vesta amounts to nothing more than an average puzzler that ends up pretty repetitive.
In Vesta, you play as a young girl (called Vesta) who gets tasked with traversing through an abandoned station. Vesta isn’t alone in her task however, as she often gets help from a robot named BOT (very creative) who gives Vesta the tasks and leads her through the station. You also make a friend called DROID (also very creative) who you actually control in completing puzzles.
The presentation of the game is incredible. The cutscenes have a comic book art style that look beautiful. When the game started, I initially wished the game continued with this art style but after 10 minutes of playing I completely changed my mind. The game is gorgeous, it’s not just a standard looking 3D, it’s a very stylistic looking game that helps it stand out.
The game is also very atmospheric. The graphics and the music really help to create this desolate world and make it feel alive. However not everything is great. I really feel like the developers focused way too much on presentation that they kind of rushed through everything else. You solve basic puzzles, going through different floors and learning more about what’s going on from BOT. Honestly, the storytelling really wasn’t compelling and I still don’t really know what was going on. Usually a game will do one or the other: you either prioritize gameplay or prioritize story. Sometimes if you’re really lucky, you’ll have a game that does both. Sadly, Vesta does neither and you can’t help but feel that this game could’ve been something really special.
Controlling two characters at the same time can work if done well. Sadly, in my opinion Vesta struggles with this mechanic. As you can only control one character at once, you have to switch between the two constantly. So if you enter a room as Vesta, you then have to switch over to DROID and do the same thing. After a while, this can get really annoying. There are ways around this, DROID has a few abilities that help along the way. You’ll come across a few gaps between platforms, luckily DROID has an ability where he can pick up Vesta and throw her a few meters. So my way around switching between the two constantly was to pick up Vesta and carry her around. There were downsides to this too, I couldn’t use any other abilities from either character and if I wanted to place Vesta down, I would have to throw her which could sometimes result in a Vesta coming across a robot that instantly kills her.
It is cool how the game really emphasizes how much Vesta needs DROID and not just to solve puzzles. Vesta’s only ability is to drain energy cells, so if you come across an enemy robot, Vesta’s in trouble. Luckily for her, DROID has a gun which can disable the enemies and then there’s a short time period where Vesta can run up and drain their energy. I did like this dynamic of how they really need each other. Now that I think that about it, this game really would’ve benefited from a co-op mode. This would’ve solved my issue of trying to control both characters.
Not only is this game a hassle to control but the puzzles really become a drag to get through. You’ll enter a level, drain the energy from a container and put it somewhere else to unlock a door and get through to the next level defeating a few enemy robots along the way and then do it again. This game does try to change this up sometimes by adding in boss fights but they do little to challenge the player and can be dealt with pretty easily.
Another big issue I had with the game is the checkpoint system. Sometimes levels won’t even have a checkpoint, so if you die, you have to start the level again. Luckily the levels without a checkpoint don’t last too long but it’s still incredibly frustrating. You also can’t manually save, so if there’s a part that you’re stuck on, be prepared to restart the level a lot.
My biggest disappointment with Vesta was seeing the potential and instead of greatness, we get a very average repetitive puzzler that has been done better in other games. There is fun to be had and it is pretty to look at but underneath its good looks is a very shallow game.
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Playstation 4 code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.