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Vessel: Fanciful Fluids

cogs are essential, more cogs please

It’s been a long time since we had any coverage of Vessel, Strange Loop Games’ intriguing 2D puzzle-adventure. That all changes right now. With the game due for release this winter, the team have released a new trailer to show how far things have come in the last eighteen months. Already a finalist in IGF’s technical excellence category for 2010, the game’s artwork and complex fluid physics look superb. Open your ears as well as your eyes because the music is delightful too.

The way the raindrops bounce and trickle got me straight away. I could write out a long list of the various things I was reminded of but I think that would be unfair. All that matters is they’re all positive and the game looks like it has enough ideas to stand alone. As the video shows more of the fluid physics, I found myself imagining entire puzzle designs based around the tech. It’s exciting. Much more exciting than being shown a pretend explosion that’s more realistic than an explosion.

Apart from looking exceptionally clever, Vessel also looks rather beautiful. The world is interesting and the sense of melancholy prevents it all from seeming too cute. I’m not sure if the Fluros, those liquid fellows, are going to come out of the experience unscathed. They’ve been given life, that much is certain, and now they’re causing all manner of mischief. But will they be tamed or destroyed? I dread to think.

The only thing I’m not entirely sold on is the main character. He looks the part, with his handsome sideburns, but his animations are a little clunky at times. It’s only noticeable because everything else looks so fantastic and I’m probably just being curmudgeonly. When faced with something that has this much potential, I should be more thankful.

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Adam Smith

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