Vaporum: Lockdown is a classic old school dungeon crawler in the vein of the “Wizardry” games, or something more recent like “Grimrock.” In fact, think of this as steampunk “Grimrock” and you’re basically right on the money. That’s not a bad thing by any means – this is a engaging fun little romp that will satisfy most hardcore RPG lovers. It does not have the same level of content or as engaging a world as some others in its genre, but it’s still able to provide a good stat boosting time. 

This being a more old school dungeon crawler, there shouldn’t really be too much expectation for a story. However, Lockdown starts with a well drawn four minute intro cinematic, setting up the plot and world. Basically, your character left college to go to work and build a giant mechanical tower called the Arx Vaporum. The story is a big focus here.

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That’s commitment you’ll see throughout. There are various notes and audio logs that expand on the scope and details of the Arx Vaporum. Not to mention a whole bunch of surprising, well acted vocal interruptions, as the main character monologues about her life and connection to the Tower. I was engaged in learning about not just what was happening but the mysteries of the main character and other employees’ lives. Yes, it could feel a little cliche at times and the Tower can cause some plain looking environments, but it’s generally very interesting.

I was even more enthralled by the combat of Vaporum: Lockdown, which is in real time on a grid based system. It’s essentially an action RPG but segmented into a grid based system. This may sound clunky but it allows for very unique and interesting combat scenarios. In fact, it broadens and changes the strategies at the player’s disposal, acting much like a chess board. 

The enemies are broad and varied in their movesets and attacks, with many that you could hinder through use of clever moving and positioning on the grid. They also look amazing with some truly creative designs that really sell the steampunk feel of it all. There’s a bit of everything from flying iron drones to big intimidating soldiers with WW1-like gas masks.

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You take down these various enemies with a wide selection of weapons, ranging from swords and maces to laser guns, even various tech spells like creating a robot. This an RPG though, so many of these weapons are tied to skill trees, in which you have decided what your character will focus on throughout the game. I made a traditional sword and shield build for a bit, really tanky, and had a great time. 

The combat is pretty tough so you’re going to want to make sure you have focused on building a character that can be effective. When you do find the combination that works best for you though, Vaporum: Lockdown is incredibly satisfying.

The game is generally split into different floors on the Tower, with each of them quite large and intricate. There is more open space to the design of this, especially when compared to some others in the genre. It really expects you to explore thoroughly in order to find your way through. The map is incredibly useful for this, allowing you to leave markers and notes on it.

However, you’ll need notes for some of these puzzles, because while many simply test your dexterity, there are few that are real mind benders. The combat is difficult at times but this is easily the hardest part of the game. It really took me some significant amounts of time to complete some of them and progress. 

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This is of course, an appeal of many of these classically inspired dungeon crawlers and I imagine experienced players will enjoy these conundrums, however it may be overwhelming for newer players looking to jump in. I could see a lot of people falling off this game because of the puzzles; know what you’re getting into. 

My only complaint is that generally Vaporum: Lockdown is a little short, with only around 15 hours max. It uses that time to great effect, but I just wish there was more content to play through.

Vaporum: Lockdown is a rock solid RPG that will be a delight to anyone interested in a more classic experience. Pretty much everything is done right here – the story clicks, the combat is great, the levelling is fun and the puzzles are layered. If you’re looking for a good dungeon crawler on Xbox, start right here.

Vaporum: Lockdown is available from the Xbox Store

Vaporum: Lockdown is a classic old school dungeon crawler in the vein of the “Wizardry” games, or something more recent like “Grimrock.” In fact, think of this as steampunk “Grimrock” and you're basically right on the money. That’s not a bad thing by any means - this is a engaging fun little romp that will satisfy most hardcore RPG lovers. It does not have the same level of content or as engaging a world as some others in its genre, but it’s still able to provide a good stat boosting time.  This being a more old school dungeon crawler, there…

Pros:

  • Great combat
  • Interesting story
  • Fun character building

Cons:

  • Puzzles might throw some people off
  • Environments can be a bit plain

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Fatbot Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 10 Dec 2021
  • Launch price from - £18.49
TXH Score

4/5

Pros:

  • Great combat
  • Interesting story
  • Fun character building

Cons:

  • Puzzles might throw some people off
  • Environments can be a bit plain

Info:

  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game go to - Fatbot Games
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5
  • Version reviewed - Xbox One on Xbox Series X
  • Release date - 10 Dec 2021
  • Launch price from - £18.49

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