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Vostok Inc. review

Vostok Inc. review
Game Name: Vostok Inc.
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 and PC with a Vita version to follow
Publisher(s): BadLand Games
Developer(s): Nosebleed Inter.
Genre(s): Action, Casual, Indie
Release Date: 27/07/17

Clicker games – those games about clicking away for hours on end while the stats go up and up and up – are probably the weirdest, the most uncanny of all video game species. On a fundamental level, they’re absolutely mindless, your interaction with them reduced to the most basic of activities, while the rewards you reap quickly scale to a point far beyond parody. But is that really the fundamental level here? Because sometimes you can go much deeper, and you’ll find that the very best clicker games eventually take you to some very strange places indeed. I can barely describe this place, sadly. I know nothing at all about maths, nothing at all about numbers and even less about infinity and the infinity of sizes that infinity comes in. And yet, with a good clicker game, as I steer woozily into the tenth, twentieth, hundredth hour of tapping away, I occasionally get a weird sense of the innate rhythms of numbers, the way the upgrades start to create neat rows in my mind, the way that the quantities of units I’ve bought and developed start to form curves. In the midst of the click-click-clicking, it sometimes feels like you get a sense of the texture of maths. In the act of click-click-clicking, you get to run your thumb over the bumpy surface of the realm of numbers.

I may have gone a bit far with that one. Anyway: I like clicker games far more than I should, and I find them interesting in ways that, transparently, I cannot adequately describe. Here’s something else I like: twin-stick shooters. They’re almost the antithesis of clickers, right? In clicker games, you pick an objective in the distant future and park your imagination there for a while as your hands click-click-click towards it. Twin-stick shooters, however, are all about skill and twitch and a focus on what is happening right now, in the instant that is playing out all around you as baddies flock and swarm and kite across the screen. So what happens if you combine the immediacy of twin-sticks with the glimpse of the infinite that the clicker can afford?

Vostok Inc. is an incremental game in the vein of the horribly addictive browser games that took over our lives a couple of years back. The concept is simple: You purchase production buildings which produce a certain number of dollars each second, and you use those dollars to purchase more production buildings, until you get bored or you finally reach infinity dollars.

In the spirit of browser-based incremental games, Vostok Inc. involves a macabre sense of humor about capitalism. There are also a few bells and whistles added to the core concept: you can purchase upgrades for all of your buildings, and there is a combat element reminiscent of arcade space shooters. You pilot a spacecraft – with upgradable weapons, of course – and travel around the galaxy, bringing capitalism to every planet that crosses your path. This adds an extra layer to the incremental concept, since each planet is one incremental game in itself, and multiplying this by several planets means you can really start raking in the dough after a while (but of course, there’s never enough).

You can also pick up executives and middle managers who have somehow gotten lost in space, and these will add modifiers to your income. A curious mechanic is added by the fact that executives provide better bonuses when they’re happy. In order to satisfy them, you can give them gifts on a Tamagotchi style interface. These little devices also have various, basic mini-games, but they seem to be just for fun, as they have no impact on the game itself.

Vostok Inc. has done a great job fitting a whole lot into a relatively small install At under 500MB download (that in itself now-a-days is pretty amazing) you get a HUGE amount of game.

There are 40 planets to exploit and earn money from 6 solar systems. Each solar system has a unique boss to beat before you move to the next one. There are over 500 objectives that will get any OCD gamer to pull their hair out as well as 19 different weapon types, 13 mini-games and a virtual pet system. Starting the game you start with nothing and as Jimmy will continue to remind you you need to get to work to get filthy stinking rich! You can start by blowing up some asteroids to get money and quickly you’ll see that the enemies come out of everywhere to try and stop you. What’s really good about this game is you can play the game a couple of ways.

Fight enemies and gain XP pretty quick to level up and get money or ravage the universe for resources and get rich that way. I’ve played it both way and both ways are pretty enjoyable but I think a mix is needed to get the most out of the game. If you just fight enemies you can run into places where you’ll die and luckily they give you an escape pod that’s nice and fast but only has 10 life’s which can go quickly if you’re in a bad place. And Jimmy will take every chance to let you know when you’re losing money and dying costs MOOLAH!

Once you get yourself set up with a good amount of capital you can work on getting an automated collection systems set up in all of your planets and then you can focus on leveling up your weapons and ship to fight the boss. Once you beat the boss you’ll move onto the next area to essentially repeat the process against a new set of enemies and planets. Vostok Inc. keeps you interested by making the next upgrade JUST out of reach so instead of quitting you’ll want to get that next objective or achievement or upgrade for your ship, weapons our upgrading the buildings on your planets.

I do feel and can totally understand how some people would find the game repetitive and even not enjoy the mining and money collection part of the game but for me the immense amount of objectives make me want to finish the game which I know will take forever. The artwork is fun and cartoony and Jimmy can get annoying at times but he does help keep you generally focused on the end goal – MOOLAH! And at a price of $14.99/€14.99/£10.99 it’s not worth it I recommend waiting for a price drop especially for PC players since the game is always constantly crashing.

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