There’s something about Vessel that makes me sit back, relax and appreciate the bloom of indie game industry.
From the get-go, this steam punk physics-based puzzle platform game will draw you in it’s magical world filled with zeppelins, lava monsters and cogs. A LOT of cogs.
You play as an inventor, trying to clean up after his own mess – he created Fluros, beings made out of liquid that were used as workforce until they started to develop minds of their own and caused all-around mischief.
Vessel revolves around solving brilliantly designed puzzles that get harder and harder as you play. At first, you have only one Fluro – a helping kind one made out of water that jumps on switches for you, but soon enough you will have a ton of creation options – Follower Fluros, that go directly after you, Drinker Fluros that seek out the nearest source of liquid they’re made of, Light and Dark Fluros that are attracted or repelled by light. You also get a lot of liquids – green liquid that makes the Fluros glow in the dark, Lava liquid that hurts you etc. The combinations of Fluros you can create are vast and figuring out which ones to use to solve a certain puzzle can be hard, but ultimately very rewarding.
Time needed to finish the game is a bit over 10 hours, which is the perfect length – making Vessel not too short and at the same time not letting itself drag out. Vessel has distinct visuals, pastel-like 2D/3D steam punk environments. During the course of the game you will visit deep caves, mines, orchards, factories and laboratories, each with it’s own unique look and feel. Great electronic ambiental soundtrack by Jon Hopkins adds to the already great experience.
The controls can get a bit complicated since by the end of the game you will end up with a huge inventory – picking Fluro types, liquid and spray nozzles can be complicated if some of the puzzles require you to think fast, but luckily, they’re in the minority.
You can upgrade your equipment using special kind of liquid you usually find in secret passages. Another detail I absolutely loved about Vessel is that the upgrade mechanism is literally an upgrade mechanism.
I can safely put Vessel in my top ten favorite indie games – together with the classics like Braid and Super Meat Boy.
Summary: Vessel is a one of a kind, unique game with eye candy visuals and fantastic puzzles. Highly recommended.
Platforms: PC (Steam and DRM-free)
Verdict: 9 out of 10