On paper Vesta looks like your generic platform puzzler that we have seen so many times before, and to a point it is. With an isometric viewpoint, where Vesta tries to stand out ahead of other similar games though is in its level design and puzzle structure, but we’ll talk more about that further in to the review. Vesta is a lonely 6 year old girl who is looked after by BOT, a motivational guardian that offers guidance and encouragement throughout Vesta’s journey across underground mazes in the ruins of a complex run by machines. She then buddies up with another companion called DROID, a sidekick who assists her in things that she can’t quite do on her own.
Using what little energy source that remains to get through each level, Vesta has to travel through various puzzles, challenges, enemies and traps in order to get to MUM, the main intelligence that oversees the whole complex. As mentioned before, assisting Vesta through these dark ruins of the complex is DROID, a buddy style companion that assists Vesta in many different ways including various scenarios like throwing her across gaps, destroying other bots, using himself as a shield and getting access for Vesta to get through the toughest of places.
The overall gameplay mechanics are simple and easy to get to grips with but these are unfortunately inconsistent and rather clunky at times. It doesn’t play badly, but there are some limitations with its gameplay mechanics that can lead to a frustrating death like falling off the platform through no fault of your own or getting stuck in the environment due to a few frustrating glitches. DROID has a restricted aiming mechanism that isn’t a full 360 movement, with developer FinalBoss Games instead opting for an eight point aiming system.
Destroying enemies using DROID’s rockets can be quite tricky to pull off in certain situations because of the restricted aim, but these limitations are meant to be there to coincide with how the levels are set out but even taking that in to consideration, DROID would seemingly get stuck by a wall or a crate, leaving him unable to aim, despite being quite far away, sometimes hindering progression. It’s almost as if the collision system is a little inconsistent and can lead to a few infuriating moments of panic, before eventually dying and starting again from the beginning of the level.
Vesta and DROID have to be controlled independently and one doesn’t follow the other as you might expect. Instead both characters have to be moved along to progress through and when in a room filled with enemy Robots, timing becomes a focus point of the gameplay. It works for the majority of the time but it’s inconsistent and with the unfortunate shortfalls in the gameplay as mentioned earlier, it can be tedious trying to control two characters with just one controller, one at a time. This limits the game considerably and can make the overall experience feel more frustrating than it should be.
Where Vesta tries its hardest to separate itself from other platform games is in its structured puzzles. Collecting and using energy cells to power conveyor belts, lifts, doors and sliding floor panels forms the main construction of the puzzles within the game. Utilising both characters is key to progressing through each level with DROID having unique abilities that assist Vesta in her journey. DROID can be used as a shield to block lasers, can push blocks to use as bridges over hot lava type gaps and he can even throw Vesta over gaps to trigger switches amongst other things.
It’s quite addictive at first and the whole structure of the game makes a good impression early on. It all comes together and works fairly well despite the gameplay issues I mentioned earlier, but the novelty unfortunately starts to wear off half way through the game and the level design and puzzles start to become repetitive and lose their appeal. Enemies become familiar and there is very little variety to them at all. At the end of each chapter there is a boss fight and they leave a lot to be desired. Uninspired, repetitive and easy to read due to the scripted movements is the only way I can sum the boss fights up.
There is so much potential here that it leaves me bitterly disappointed with what could of been achieved. There are some good things about Vesta but none of it has the lasting appeal that it should and it has far too many gameplay limitations that take away the fun slightly. Visually it’s vibrant, with a cartoon style design but level design becomes boring and the design never really changes. It would of been nice to have some slightly different environments to add some variety but it just remains the same throughout.
There is very little incentive to revisit Vesta once you complete it unless you miss a few collectibles along the way. It’s quite a short game so I would’ve expected it to have more secrets or additional objectives to go back to once it ends, so it’s disappointing that there really isn’t much replay value to be had here. Vesta has so much going for it but it fails to deliver where it really matters and while it starts off well, by the end it left me feeling disappointed with something that seemed so promising at the beginning.