In VESTA, you play as a six-year-old girl who’s just discovered that she’s the only human left around in an abandoned and incredibly dangerous mechanical complex. Thankfully, for her sake, she can rely on the help of her handy robot pal, named Droid. There are a few other non-human characters in the mix too, but Droid is really your main man in all of this, as he acts as the brawns to Vesta’s brains.
VESTA is by and large a puzzle game, but we also get some light combat encounters with various haywire robots. These sections, while not exactly great, do help to break up the puzzle-centric levels and allow for some amount of metal-crunching catharsis. Along the way, you’ll also encounter different types of traps that must be safely traversed or avoided. Again, these are helpful in building upon the variety of gameplay scenarios you’ll find yourself having to overcome.
Key information such as puzzle mechanics are relayed to the player with great efficiency. Thanks to this, I rarely found myself becoming frustratingly stumped because the game decided to break its own established rules. Therefore, it all plays well enough, with one key exception: the boss fights.
In boss fights, the controls go from entirely adequate and functional to finicky and frustrating, at a moment’s notice. These fights bookend the otherwise solid levels, which is a great shame, as they tend to carelessly undo some of the goodwill that those main sections often manage to build. Nothing overly egregious then, but it does make me wonder why these lacklustre, 3-phase, rinse and repeat enemies weren’t given more attention during the development process.
I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll remember of its puzzles, locations or characters by this time next week
The dungeons that you’ll explore grow in complexity at a comfortable pace and the developers mine a surprising amount of variety from Vesta and Droid’s simple abilities. It’s a shame then that said variety is nowhere to be found in the visual palette of the game. What starts out as a cute and distinctive art design soon becomes visually tedious, as there is far too little done to aesthetically separate the various areas. Distinct visual themes or even some more differences in colour would have helped to alleviate this greatly.
What story there is here does largely unfold through a series of entertaining little comic strips, although written logs scattered around the levels do also help to fill in some of the blanks. There’s a decent amount of endearing dialogue between Vesta and Droid, and it all comes together to give the game a fair amount of personality. More of this well written back and forth chatter throughout the levels would have been welcome though.
Ultimately, VESTA is an easy-going little game that doesn’t outstay its welcome. I’m honestly not sure how much I’ll remember of its puzzles, locations or characters by this time next week: but in the moment, FinalBoss’s cute little puzzle platformer certainly makes for an engaging and sporadically charming experience. It never once feels wholly original, but that doesn’t stop it from being perfectly enjoyable in small doses. The console and PC versions (I played on PS4) are a fine way to play, but I’d put stock in the Switch being optimal. At least in terms of playability and warding off any repetition that may otherwise begin to set in.
Get it if you have a hankering for Ye old Zelda puzzle dungeons and bosses with an entirely unsurprising amount of phases.