Parents' Guide to


By David Chapman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Steampunk mystery is heavy on nostalgia and repetition.

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A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this game.

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There's a lot to be said for nostalgia in video games these days, with various remakes, reboots, and remasters angling for attention. But games like Vaporum attempt to present gamers with an original concept and more modern style, but filtered through the lens of old-school gameplay. The result here is an adventure that looks like something new and fresh, but unfortunately gets a bogged down in an overwhelming sense of déjà vu. The problem here is that it borrows so many elements from so many places, that right from the start, it feels like something you've already played before. It's a lot like those mystery flavored lollipops, where you spend more time trying to figure out where you've tasted it before than you do simply enjoying what's there.

The grid-based movement in Vaporum hearkens back to some of the classic adventure games of days past, but can cause some frustration as well. It's easy to get turned around while maneuvering through the often claustrophobic halls, which isn't helped by the fact that a lot of these corridors look the same. And when you do wind up finding a foe in your path, the back and forth timing of attacks has all the depth of a round of Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. Despite these issues, Vaporum still has something to offer to adventure fans. The game's plot, while a little clichéd, has enough intrigue and mystery to keep players' interests, leaving just enough breadcrumbs behind to let the story unfold at your own pace. The more you explore, the more understanding you get. And in an odd way, the game's familiarity almost plays into the story, giving both you and your character a shared sense of vague recognition of what lies just under the surface.

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