Grimrock-y steampunk dungeon crawler Vaporum is out

Vaporum

Fatbot Games’ grid-based, first-person dungeon crawl, Vaporum [official site], has officially clanked and whirred past the finish line and is available now via Steam. Offering the opportunity to strap on a suit of steam-powered armour and ascend through a tower full of mechanised monsters, it’s a clearly enticing proposition and something that had caught our eye before. We’ve been covering this one since its early days seeking funding back in 2015, and it’s great to see it finished and looking gorgeous, in a distinctly loud, stompy, mechanical way.

Fatbot proudly wear their inspirations on their sleeve, claiming Legend of Grimrock 1 & 2 and genre progenitors such as Eye of the Beholder and Dungeon Master as key inspirations for Vaporum. Despite the design dating back as far as 1987, the blend of positioning-heavy realtime combat (see the guard satisfyingly punted into a pit in the trailer above) and puzzle solving still makes for a compelling mix in need of little more than a bit of graphical spit-and-polish in order to pass modern muster.

What sets Vaporum most visibly apart from Grimrock (other than the higher-tech setting) is its progression systems. Rather than control a party of four, you play as a single character wrapped in a customizable and modular exo-rig. While some of your choices have to be fully committed to, your abilities are largely governed by your interchangeable equipment. Multiple loadout slots allow you to switch between sets of gear at will, effectively allowing you to switch class mid-combat in order to adapt to the situation.

Fatbot have also outlined some plans for the game immediately following release. Beyond the usual post-release support, patching and tweaking, they have plans to open the game up to a global audience. While only available in English at present, another nine languages will be supported soon. If the game is sufficiently well-recieved, they are looking at the potential for Mac & Linux ports, although nothing is set in stone on that point.

Vaporum is available on Steam now for £15/18€/$18, with a 10% launch discount.

18 Comments

  1. Premium User Badge

    Risingson says:

    I feel an enormous gap between players that played Dungeon Masters, Beholders, first Land of Lore, Bloodwych etc and the ones that only know this genre for Legend of Grimrock and wonder why did anyone thought of implementing rpg mechanics that consist of dancing with the keyboard. Me? I’m happy, thanks.

  2. Themadcow says:

    Everything has its place if done well. I’m a huge dungeon crawler / blobber fan and despite preferring the turn based likes of Wizardry, Etrian and the like I had huge fun with Grimrock. A single character Grimrock? Sounds good to me.

  3. Unsheep says:

    Even better, it’s also available DRM-free on GOG.

    • bobbins says:

      Why would you just want to buy the version that’s left over from your humble purchases after redeeming all your steam keys?

      All the executable-buying folks are gonna be super bummed out when after having to manage individual games for years they find that by the time steam dies all those DRM games they bought are emulator wrapped abandonware anyway.

      • April March says:

        I would be most certainly bummed if it took over 70 years for Steam to die. I would not be bummed that I gave money to devs that let me have DRM-free versions of their games.

      • Hans says:

        “having to manage individual games for years”

        I mean, installing/uninstalling individual games and having the separate icons on your desktop takes literally about 1 extra mouse click than performing the same functions on Steam’s UI. If this is too much for you to handle, maybe you should pick up a Nintendo system.

  4. mercyRPG says:

    Waay better than any of Obisidians stuff or Divine Diminuty 2.

    • antszy says:

      go back to the codex and someone might actually find that clever

  5. Premium User Badge

    Evil Timmy says:

    I think I’d be put off by the chunky movement style and would have to play a demo to be won over. Seems better suited to a Guardian of Light-esque 3/4ths isometric 3d perspective, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    • April March says:

      Agreed. I don’t have anything against the genre per se, but not being old enough to play the old classics nor being interested in Legend of Grimrock I have no idea if it’s something I’d like. The trailer, at least, seems disorienting to me. Does it take a turn to turn around?

      • Nimdok says:

        There are no turns; it takes as long as it takes to turn around, and if someone tags you in the meanwhile, so be it.

  6. Someoldguy says:

    Definitely going on my watch list for when I have more time and money.

  7. WJonathan says:

    GrimShock? BioRock?

  8. CitizenX3639 says:

    Game is awesome and difficult. The best compliment at this time, its polished. Not a lot of games are released day one in a status that is IMO perfect.

    • sansenoy says:

      It’s polished nicely, but still terribly written and hopelessly generic. It scratches an itch and not much else.

      • swigg says:

        Yeah the writing and voice acting isn’t very good. But I love the gameplay! With Grimrock it sort of felt weird how you can basically square-dance around everything to kill it. I think it tried to address this by being conscious of space constraints and giving different monsters different methods of movement, but it never really served the game (the game was fun for other reasons). But this game takes the tile-based combat and runs with it. Different kinds of enemies have different attack patterns (projectile lobbing, AOE attacks, hitscan, melee, non-moving sentry guns which can be tricked into damaging other enemies). With different combinations of enemies unleashed in various shaped arenas, every encounter feels completely different. Space really feels like a resource to be exploited and managed as much as possible in any given situation. Arenas with sentries become almost like puzzles to be solved in realtime. Enemies that use 9-square AOE attacks at a slow interval force you to always be thinking a couple of seconds ahead, making sure you have a free space to move to when the next attack comes up. Whereas Grimrock only had the concern of “don’t get cornered”, this game adds so much more to think about. It owns the tile-based action.

        • Turvok says:

          Swigg and sansenoy. If you enjoyed this and grimrock (1 and 2) i’d highly recommend might and magic x legacy as well. different than grimrock but equally as fun.

  9. Turvok says:

    I really hope this game is doing well. I’m 10 hours into it and enjoying it. Especially for the price point it’s at. Not many comments for it though either here or on steam.

    My feeling’s is that it’s been missed in the mix of all the releases. I hope it’s not the case though.