There's something inherently appealing about puzzle-filled adventures that have you control multiple characters. Vesta is quite a tricky take on this specific genre so let's stash some energy and see how it holds up.
You play as Vesta, a little girl whose home is a desolate underground maze city where many humans once lived. It's her mission to survive the perils of everyday life as plenty of robotic sentinels occupy the maze. Soon into her story, she meets a large robot known as Droid with great strength that she can use to her advantage in order to uncover the mysteries of the mechanical city. The gameplay primarily consists of running around as either Droid or Vesta in order to progress past seemingly impassable situations. Droid can shoot missiles that stun enemies while Vesta can drain energy from stunned foes and certain terminals that she can then use to power up certain features such as conveyor belts and doors. Juggling between the characters while solving tricky puzzles and working through the campaign is a very satisfying dynamic that fans of this very specific genre will appreciate.
On a visual level, Vesta doesn't quite offer a robust and colourful game world. In fact, the environments that you find yourself within are rather plain and unvaried. You start in a generic factory-looking setting then move on to a much darker version of the same thing. One area has a bit of greenery but that doesn't do much to break up the monotonous graphics. On the plus side, the audio is beautifully done. For starters, the music consists of an assortment of orchestral pieces and trippy beats that makes for a perfect backdrop for the puzzles as well as the desperate situation that the protagonist is in. The sound effects are fantastic, too, and match onscreen events perfectly. Whoever composed the music and did the sound effects for Vesta definitely knows what they're doing.
As you progress through the four areas of the campaign, you'll gradually unlock plenty of collectibles. Many of the 36 stages feature an assortment of goodies to find which helps extend the replay value substantially. However, I'm pretty sure that collecting them doesn't actually do anything besides give you a sense of accomplishment. Anyway, another thing that I find odd is that the gameplay centers on the fact that you alternate between two characters yet there is no option to play with a friend. I'd imagine that having a cooperative multiplayer component would be quite enjoyable yet Vesta remains a strictly one player experience.
Even though working out the puzzles and tricky situations posed within each stage is mostly enjoyable, I found that the overall sensitive mechanics resulted in many deaths and failed attempts. First of all, Vesta perishes after being hit just once so if you accidentally leave her in a dangerous spot then she may die before you even know what's going on. Secondly, falling off ledges is a huge problem. I wish that the characters would grab onto ledges so they can hoist themselves up and continue their quest but instead, I guess they'd rather commit suicide. Finally, you'll find yourself regularly reaching dead ends because you didn't do a very specific sequence of events. There's nothing more frustrating than playing for 15 or so minutes only to realise that you don't have enough power to open a door and can't work your way back thus you're forced to restart the stage. Needless to say, it can be brutally unforgiving.
Although it's far from perfect, if you're in the market for a cleverly designed character-swapping puzzler and have the patience to continually play through long stretches again and again then Vesta is sure to find a welcome home in your collection.
- + Clever puzzle-filled stages mix well with character-swapping gameplay
- + Fantastic music and effects
- + Collectibles add replay value
- - Sensitive mechanics force you to regularly replay large segments
- - Dull and unvaried environments
- - No multiplayer component