Clicker games are something of an addiction to me. They let us quickly see ourselves grow from essentially nothing to the 1% in a matter of hours or days, and my favorites even allow you to “prestige” and start all over again, retaining some bonuses to do it faster and better the next time. In the case of Vostok Inc, you play as the CEO of a fictional company – the titular Vostok Inc – as you spread the magnificence of capitalism to other planets and solar systems.
Vostok Inc throws you into the driver’s seat of a ship in Sol (our solar system). From here, you’ll face off against the UFOs, an “organized” crime group that wants a cut of your profits. Unfortunately, that cut is 200%, which – as you might have guessed – is a bit more than you can afford. Luckily, your ship is equipped with weapons, and killing enemies is a rewarding experience for your wallet! Those funds you accrue from enemies and asteroids can be put into the various planets of our solar system (not including Pluto, making this game literally unplayable), where you’ll earn the bulk of your money.
Vostok Inc is made up of three major parts: fighting, investing, and the various other activities you’ll unlock. These parts all come together to form one whole, but they’re distinct enough that they need to be discussed separately. Nosebleed Interactive did an amazing job of incorporating some terrific, unique touches in every part of the game, but there are also some horrendous negatives to be found everywhere as well.
It’s worth mentioning that I played with an Xbox controller, so I can’t speak for the mouse and keyboard controls. The Xbox controller worked very well, though; it’s easy to move around with one joystick and fire in any direction with the other. All of your weapons have unlimited ammo, and there’s no punishment for bad aim, which is great because I never would’ve completed the game otherwise. You can also boost faster across space, and this was simultaneously one of my least and most favorite things about the game: your boost draws from your shields. If an enemy hurts you enough to get past your shields, you lose health, and health is only restored at the motherbase so it’s dangerous to boost. At the same time, it’s just as dangerous not boosting as enemies will attack you. You’ll also unlock all sorts of weapons as you play, and you can keep four equipped on you to swap on the fly.
As you fly around, enemies will warp in to attack you pretty much nonstop. Killing a group of enemies will spawn a new group, but traveling far enough will eventually cause a new wave to spawn anyway. Each enemy has a set amount of health, and with each successful hit you land within a matter of seconds, you’ll boost your combo meter that increases the amount of damage you do. There are also scouts to look out for: you’ll get a warning on the screen that enemies are incoming, and if you don’t kill all of the scouts quickly enough a “screen locked” battle will begin. These are a terrific way to get money, but they’re also very dangerous, as death potentially makes you lose lots of hard-earned bonuses and half of your money. Combat is also (technically) the only thing required in the game, as each solar system has a boss to take out before you can move on to the next solar system.
To get the attention of each boss, though, you’ll need a whole bunch of money. The best way to get that money is through the magnificence of colonization, whether the planets want it or not! You’ll unlock 20 different buildings on each planet, and each has 5 upgrades to be purchased. Unlocking some of these buildings is a minigame of its own, and I love that they really encourage using various weapons and completing all sorts of tasks. People familiar with idle or clicker games will be familiar with this general concept, and the money continues to accumulate as long as the game is running. Each planet has an ATM (“Auto Transfer Moolah” Collector) that you can purchase that throws any money earned right into your total automatically, but until you can afford them you’ll have to revisit planets to collect your cold, hard cash manually.
Finally, there are all sorts of other activities you’ll unlock as you progress in the game. There are managers to save that will ride on your ship and give you a percentage bonus to all income, some of which even require special gifts you’ll find in asteroids or from dead enemies to keep them happy, and each comes with a Game & Watch-style minigame to earn these gifts as well. Vostok Inc also includes various special goodies you’ll come across and space races; there are so many various things, in fact, that it’s about impossible to run out of stuff to do… for a while.
Unfortunately, while the game has so much to do, a great deal of it is spent in menus. Investing in each planet is time-consuming and repetitive, even physically painful after a while. In fact, Vostok Inc as a whole becomes repetitive; flying around to earn enough money for a valuable investment and then repeating the process dozens of times before being able to afford to face off against a boss just isn’t very fun. This is made even worse in the last solar system, where the amount of money needed is insane. It took me one day to get through the first five solar systems, and then it took another full day to get through the final solar system. It was also odd how there were three buildings and loads of upgrades on each planet that cost WAAAAAAAY more than the final boss’s dollar amount. I figured, hey, there’s a New Game+ mode, maybe that’s why!
NOPE! New Game+ merely starts the game over again with your current achievements still unlocked. You keep absolutely nothing at all, and there’s no reward for starting New Game+. There are no upgrades or anything exclusive to New Game+, not even cosmetics, and money isn’t earned any quicker or easier. I’m fairly sure the only reason it exists at all is because Vostok Inc doesn’t have more than one save slot.
Vostok Inc is such a mixed bag. There’s some terrific humor, each solar system has a unique theme and leader to deal with, including some funny conversations and even insights into the evils of forced capitalism, there are loads of activities, and I loved the little twists and additions to various aspects of the elements in the game. The weapons are particularly terrific, and it was amazing just how different they were: starting off with a little pew pew gun and working up to chain lightning, a unicorn blaster that fires actual unicorns, and even a lightsaber was epic. But there was so much repetition, and the pacing became painful toward the end. Not only is the game highly repetitive at the end, but the enemies also become more and more unbalanced as their level increases with yours. Some enemies barely dent your shields and others can kill you with 3-4 hits. With a few enemies firing the OP weapons at once, I went from full health and shields to dead a few times in less than a second. The first few times it happened I didn’t even understand it, I assumed the game must’ve glitched for me to die so suddenly.
But the worst part of all was losing my progress. At one point while playing I closed my laptop and it failed to go to sleep, which led to my laptop freezing. When I forced a restart and launched Vostok Inc again I was thrown into a new game without a weapon and with infinite health and shields. I figured out that deleting my save file and starting over fixed it, but my progress was still entirely gone. If I wasn’t reviewing the game, I would’ve quit then and there forever. Without that glitch, I probably would’ve given this game a 7/10, but it upset me so much that it’s hard to see past it. Even so, it’s hard not to recommend Vostok Inc to people who love clicker/idle games but want more gameplay while playing one. Just do yourself a favor and be careful about not letting your PC freeze while playing!
REVIEW CODE: A complimentary Nintendo Switch code was provided to Bonus Stage for this review. Please send all review code enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Vostok Inc. Review
Gameplay - 5/10
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Replay Value - 5/10
User Review( votes)
It’s hard not to recommend Vostok Inc to people who love clicker/idle games but want more gameplay while playing one.