You take on the role of Vesta, a 6 year old girl who lives in what appears to be a post apocalyptic world. She lives in an underground facility and her mission is to reach the surface and escape the mechanical labyrinth.
Bot, a seemingly friendly little Robot that helps Vesta along the way and advises her that she must reach MUM the leading A.I near the surface.
Droid is introduced as Vesta’s sidekick robot and the duo make an excellent team in tackling the games 36 floors and its robotic sentinels and pitfalls along the way. Droid is the muscle and Vesta can harvest energy in order to power terminals, lifts and doors that have lost their charge over the years.
The story is told to us in the form of a comic strip at the beginning of each of the games 4 sections and then with a few short text based conversation cutscenes along the way.
The story is solid albeit it not very exciting in the telling. I found myself skipping some of the text from Bot in particular.
The game starts with some epic background sounds alongside the opening cutscene and the music by Sonotrigger is well composed and gives a sense of being in a mechanical world throughout.
You can tell they know what they are doing when it comes to producing music however the problem for me is its just not varied enough and it is rather flat at times. The game could of done with some voice acting or more variety in its music to bring the audio to life.
Visuals & Performance
Vesta’s comic book cutscenes are really well drawn and are a nifty idea thats well executed. Elsewhere we see a top down 3D world and characters that are impressive for a small developer yet remind me of a PS1 game due to the low detail levels which was likely caused by the developers budget.
I really liked some of the details such as the use of the camera angle to obscure secrets throughout the levels and the way the foreground in the distance adds to the perspective.
On the flip side sometimes these get in the way as you cannot move the camera angle obscuring some puzzles.
The facilities design is bleak and mechanical as is befitting the story with one of the results being a fairly limited colour palette.
Unfortunately at some points in the game there is a slowdown effect, when I came across these specific areas I tested it out by leaving and returning and loading up the game again an my findings are that these issues are linked to specific areas through the game, sadly its not that rare however luckily these slowdowns do not significantly impact gameplay.
Vesta originally struck me as a platformer and whilst there are certainly platforming elements its fair to say that I soon realised that mainly this game is a puzzler.
You get to switch between Vesta and Droid in ever increasingly complicated puzzles across the games 36 levels broken into 4, 9 level sections.
In each level you must explore the floor using both characters in order to find both a route to the end and a number of energy sources in order to power the lift to take you up a floor. Vesta has the ability to absorb energy from Robots that are either broken down or your enemies – sentinels that roam the levels and will attack you on sight.
Vesta will be killed in one hit whilst the beefier Droid can take up to 3 hits and can shoot enemies temporarily stunning them giving Vesta time to absorb their energy.
The main challenge comes in the form of figuring out the correct path to complete a level and switching between characters at the right team without leaving one of them behind or in a dangerous position.
You may need to bring Droid along a moving platform whilst controlling Vesta because taking a power source out of its socket will power the platform down, stranding Droid if done at the wrong time. One frustration with this is a simple one – because you need both characters to get onto platforms there is a lot of waiting around and switching, moving and switching back. In addition you can find yourself completing a whole level and at the end realise that you did things in slightly the wrong order and need to start again.
Droid gets to shoot some sweet rockets but he can only fire in 8 directions which is surprisingly restrictive and can be annoying when lining up your characters, these fiddly control issues detract from the games experience but on the flip side make completing a level really quite satisfying.
On the move Vesta plays just as well as when its docked without any additional performance drops.
The difficulty progression is very well balanced and whilst there are a few spikes they feel few and far between, the curve is spot on.
For your $14.99 in the US and £11.36 in the UK you will get about 6 hours of play from the campaign and some level of replay value in the form of 5 secrets hidden on each level. A fair price for a 3D puzzler.
Vesta Nintendo Switch Review by SwitchWatch
Ambitious Indie project
Intricate play across both characters
Frustrating and fiddly controls