Protocols. Boring but needed. Especially where robots are concerned.
The whole premise of Vesta is built around dealing with protocols. And that means they aren’t boring. They probably aren’t needed either, but for the sake of a story, they must stay.
Vesta is a puzzling adventure in which you must help a young 6-year old girl – that’s Vesta – move her way around the ruins of a city that was once bright, but has since fallen into disrepair. The maze she now finds herself in is full of dangers and it’ll be up to her to use her brain and overcome the troubles ahead.
But as history has told us many a time previously, a 6-year old girl can’t do everything alone, and working alongside her is her ever helpful protocol obsessed friend, BOT, and the rough and ready, DROID. The former of these two help push the weird, humorous and thoughtful story along, whilst the latter brings some brawn to the table. That’s because without DROID, Vesta would never be able to make death defying jumps, push boxes or battle the enemy robots that she comes across.
The duo work well together too. With Vesta able to squeeze through the smallest gaps, and DROID able to do the heavy lifting, there is no situation too tough to handle and, for the most part, you’ll enjoy the constant switch between protagonists in order to solve the mysteries of the land.
To make her way through the desolate underground maze though, Vesta will need to find and utilise power by storing it in her backpack. It is only by checking out all dark corners and taking down the robots ahead – stealing their power supply in the process – will she be able to make her way out of the complex, with exits only opening up when she has three power cores in hand, and her selfless slave DROID is by her side.
The tricky puzzling side of Vesta comes about by having to weigh up and work out where and when each piece of power should be used. You see, the power that is vital to success is also the only way to open doors, activate floating platforms and switch off deadly laser beams. There is much backtracking involved in Vesta – especially in the latter half of the 36 stages – and what starts off as a fairly simple little runthrough soon ramps up and gets tough enough to test the mind, forcing the odd restart when all hope is lost.
The paths that you’ll need to send Vesta and DROID down are multiple too, and so it is only by solving the puzzles and working out the best route to take will you find joy. With a bright and wonderful world playing host to the tests, it’s fairly delightful to spend time trying to help Vesta escape. Simple game mechanics are pretty much the order of the day too and moving the two characters of Vesta and DROID independently of one another is an easy process. Teaming up and getting DROID to hoist Vesta up onto his shoulders brings another element to the game and it is only by doing this will you be able to see Vesta launched across bottomless pits and acid filled holes in the search for more power cores.
There are also numerous other secrets to discover and even though these are fairly simple to find, requiring little in the way of going off the beaten path, should you find yourself missing a couple and wish to try and grab all the easy achievements that Vesta brings, you have the option of heading back in to specific levels at any point.
I have to admit that I’ve very much enjoyed my time delving into the puzzling world of Vesta. But it has come at a price. That price being my sanity.
That’s not in any way down to the game mechanics, the ideas behind it, the controls, or even the puzzling nature that it brings – the vast majority of those things are fine. It’s down to the fact that throughout my time with Vesta I’ve been treated to lost saves, progress removal and the need for running through the same levels over and over again.
You see, things are great when you are playing Vesta. Checkpoints are in place where needed and level lengths are such that you’ll rarely tire of reaching the end. But when it comes to calling time on that session, as real life gets in the way or you wish to experience something different, Vesta goes a bit wrong.
Not a day has passed whereby I haven’t seen some lost progress, leaving me with little choice but to complete stages that I’d previously concluded, hunt down secrets that I’d previously found, or grab the power cores from enemies that had previously been ripped from their hearts. What the problem is, I really don’t know, but even seeing the achievement ping for completing a certain set of levels hasn’t saved me from the need to complete half of them again the next day. Now this is all great when you need to find a specific number of checkpoints in order to garner some gamerscore, as the progress loss doesn’t seem to affect the achievement stats, but in a world where repetition is the enemy, it doesn’t help breed any confidence into your Vesta playthrough. Leaving you on edge for the next time you switch the game on, worrying that you’ll be asked to run through multiple stages again, is not an enjoyable feeling in anyone’s books.
Admittedly, what with Vesta being a puzzler and all that, it’s a relatively simple affair to think back to the solution and action it in the quickest possible time. But to be honest if I wasn’t here to write my thoughts on the subject I would have binned Vesta the minute it ripped eight of my level completions from its memory. I beg the team at FinalBoss Games to look into this and get a fix out there as soon as possible. Without this problem you’ll be finding a much more appreciated experience all round.
Aside from that rather massive issue, then there isn’t really too much to hate about Vesta. Yes, occasionally DROID will struggle to shoot missiles the way of enemies, especially when he is found in a tight spot, and I’m not sure why on earth you automatically need to control Vesta after being thrown from DROID’s shoulders. There are also the odd times when camera angles prevent you from seeing the way ahead, but it is what it is and they only play a small part in knocking Vesta down a notch.
You see, on the whole Vesta is a lovely little story-filled puzzler that is powered by humour and brings enough thought as to why, what and when at all times. It’s not the most perfect game, and slight control issues, a repetitive soundtrack and massive save problems put a downer on things, but it’s still worth taking a shot at. Especially should the saving bugs get ironed out.
Protocols aren’t always boring, but save issues are.