Friday, 24 August 2018 15:17

REVIEW: Vroom Kaboom (Playstation 4)

Written by RiotArms
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Vroom Kaboom is proudly developed by Ratloop Games; based out of the maple syrup capital of the world Canada. Comprising of a small team of industry hardened personnel; these crazy cats have taken elements from genres that you would have never thought would meld together and made something new and intriguing.

When MKAU HQ said “Riot you’re reviewing Vroom Kaboom” I envisaged cars, explosions, wreckage and... MORE EXPLOSIONS!

The excite meter was pingin’ but I digress; let’s begin!

The Skinny

Vroom Kaboom is at its core a Tower Defence game; you start off on either side and your mission is to destroy the opposing side’s infrastructure using a random assortment of vehicles. Sounds pretty simple right? Let’s throw in a curveball; CARDS! That’s right team your vehicles and payloads are drawn from a deck of cards. Have I got your attention yet? Read on.

To destroy the enemy buildings; you deploy a myriad of vehicles from your deck which will make their way to the other side firing their weapons and ultimately kamikazeing into the objectives in a glorious final act of fire and metal fragmentation.

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Unlike traditional tower defence games; the player can either watch the units move to the objectives or be in the hot seat and control their deployed vehicles and swap between them quickly.

Whilst you’re attempting to reach the other side; the opposition have the same mission at hand and therefore some highway combat is to be expected. Depending on the vehicle you have; the player can shoot, ram or even self-destruct incoming enemy vehicles in order to intercept and keep them at bay.

Along the 2-lane highway (with some cool jumps and ramps on the side; map dependent) there are powerups that the player must collect to either increase their overall weapons damage, mines to amp their collision or add to their currency which they can use to deploy cards. If sucking up that sweet sweet cash is too slow; players have the option to either recycle cards in their hand because I mean come on; a dirt bike aint going to do squat against a bus or a tank is it?

Pump those cards on the road, whittle down the enemies defences and claim victory when the buildings you sought to destroy are but rubble The concept sounds rad; a tower defence with MOBA elements, channeling Hearthstone... with vehicles.

Let’s see how it handles!

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Initial Feels

So after a cute splash screen you are jutted into a garage with 3 mean looking cars (more to follow on those). First port of call is the tutorial or in this case; the training grounds in the Single Player menu. I wouldn’t call it much of a tutorial but a “you cannot lose match” where the player has the option to test out cards, power ups and basic game play with no explanation from the game itself.

After fumbling with the control a bit I get my groove on and started laying down some hurt on the solitary unguarded buildings. Picking up things on the fly; you can see that there are 2 currencies: fire and oil (assuming offensive and utility?) which the player must collect along the way. Each card has a resource payment and categorized by movement, health, offensive power and recycle cost but the player has to select the card in order to see this information which is slightly annoying.

Weirdly enough I haven’t mentioned anything about driving. This is because you don’t actually drive but dictate the lanes the vehicle uses to get to the other side like an awkward game of Frogger.

Let’s talk about controls. Operating the deployed vehicles across the lanes is like telling someone to do something and they do it but slowly; often resulting in vehicles crashing into objects and becoming stuck and eventually self-destructing causing you to blurt out offensive things to your TV. As mentioned before each vehicle has an ability but until you deploy it you have no idea what it can do. The saving grace is the tank performs like a tank and the school bus acts like a school bus ... with quad machine guns. After a while the player should get the feel for the controls and be on their way.

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For the first half of the training I deployed one cool looking bulldozer, controlling it, finding its ins and outs only to have it clip an invisible barrier and mockingly explode in my face. The novelty of controlling vehicles wore off fast and I was left just deploying all my cards just to get it over and done with. With the above statement there are too many elements from different game types; causing it to have the traits of say a tower defence or driving game but miss the mark which renders it gimmicky.

Trainings done, let’s kick it..

After completing my own self-paced and driven training I wanted to hit the real games and git gud. Back to the 3 cars on the main screen; these are factions that you can choose with an assortment of vehicles however after smashing a few campaign missions with them it soon dawned on me that this is a game of repetition: build your deck, destroy the enemy, collect cards then repeat the cycle; no lore or back story, just repetition. What does add to the playing incentive is objectives. The competitor in me wants to nail them all however naturally the gameplay needs to entice else it is a fruitful venture also there is no visible reward just a tick in the box.

Building a deck was unintuitive; causing slight annoyances due to not really knowing what a card does until using it and at that point it’s all too hard. Buying cards is performed in the collection menu however the interface didn’t allow me to scrap cards I wanted to so that effort was abandoned.

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Aesthetics

Gameplay aside the graphics were more on the basic side; models were diverse with a delicious assortment however they weren’t too much to look at (cars with guns attached). The maps were different however had the same feel just using a different backdrop. What freaked me out a bit was random floating heads behind some vehicles only to realise that it indicated someone operating it.

Sound effects were good however when being shot you kind of didn’t know the basic direction. There commentary if a player engaged or lost a vehicle which added a bit of depth but it uses the same voice actor for all factions and vehicles.

Music scores kept with the theme and provided some background noise however the tracks changed quickly as they didn’t last long resulting in periods of silence and that voice over again.

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Riots Remarks

Wow what a journey this game has taken me on. Vroom Kaboom tries to carve itself as a different game but there is such a thing as too different.

Great attempt at combining those games that kill it in those genres. I’m talking about League of Legends, Hearthstone and Carmageddon (how I miss that game!) But to combine all the elements of the above into a fluid game was slightly over ambitious. Frustration sets in the moment you attempt to drive then forget that you have to keep a steady flow of vehicles to the enemy then realizing you’re out of materials to then realise that tank you deployed just fell down a ditch because you changed lanes mid thinking.

The game is free to play however with the option of buying premium for additional vehicles and don’t to mention supporting developers.

I am a silver lining kind of guy so I always want to end on a positive; I’m glad studios such as Ratloop Games push the envelope with creations such as Vroom Kaboom. To invest their time and effort into a concept so new is brave and commendable which is why we must continue to support our indie games. Who knows; they may be the next Minecraft of PUBG (both games with humble beginnings) because at the end of day its us; the gamers, that get the most out it and to the developers the reward of creating a legacy.

Pros:
* Cool concept
* Free to play
* Supports VR Free!

Cons:
* No solid tutorial or explanations
* Repetitive
* Clunky controls
* Unintuitive design elements

 

Additional Info

  • Review Score: 3.0 / 5.0
  • Release Date: Out Now
  • Platform: PC, PS4, Steam
  • Developer: Ratloop Games Canada
  • Publisher: Ratloop Games Canada
  • Genre: Strategy, Indie, Racing, Action