You’ve traveled through time and space. You’ve explored, plundered, and colonized numerous planets. You’ve set your sights on a brand new galaxy, and when you arrive, you’re greeted by bubbly synthetic music beats, rainbows streaming through fluffy white clouds, and an adorable raccoon. You open a dialogue with the raccoon, and with its big brown eyes staring at you the cute little critter utters a single word - death. It’s on. At this point you break out your favorite asteroid destroying weapon, mine being an endless stream of colorful unicorns, and start blasting away at these little woodland creatures.
Ladies and gentleman, welcome to Vostok Inc. NoseBleed Interactive and BadLand games latest hit.
Taking its name from the first spacecraft that allowed us human folk to explore the great unknown, Vostok Inc takes you - the brand new nameless CEO of Vostok Inc.- and sits your firmly in the captions chair as you travel from galaxy to galaxy colonizing and capitalizing different planets. Your goal is to make money, and you will make money, tons of it. Along the way, you’ll meet some interesting space characters, read some witty one liners, and destroy most everything in your path using twin stick shooter controls.
The game begins in the first of several galaxies, ours. You’ll learn the ropes here. When you land on your first planet, you’re given the option to build and build you must. From excavating sites to chemical plants, all the way up to banks and video game developing studies. Building earns you money, but you need money to build. So where do you start? Asteroids and bad guys. Blowing these suckers up offers up tons of moolah. As you progress, you’re able to purchase upgrades to increase the moolah you receive from destroying enemy ships and those asteroids, along with upgrades to enhance your ship, such as health, booster capabilities, and firepower.
The weapons in Vostok are extravagant, to say the least. You’ll start with your standard blaster, and progress up to several different options, including the ever-so-deadly unicorn beam I mentioned earlier. The game allows you to slot up to four different weapons at a time on the d-pad, which is cool if you’re into mixing and matching your destructive nature. It’s also a smart design choice because certain enemies can be a pain in the ass if you have the wrong weapon equipped. This is a good problem to have, however. I’m not going to say that there is an abundance of different enemy types, but for the game's length, there is just enough diversity to keep you from rolling your eyes if you have to engage in space-battle.
After you’re done waging war in the stars, you might notice a yellow triangle pop up on the game's map. If you follow this triangle, you’ll find that some poor human is floating aimlessly through space. These guys and gals turn our to be managers or executives that help earn extra cash on your ship. Managers are generally well behaved, they know they’re place in the corporate
structure and do their jobs. They’ll also die if your ship blows up, so keep that in mind. Executives are quite different, however. They’re assholes, and they’re impervious to harm if your ship explodes (irony?) In order to keep them happy, however, you must play Tamagotchi inspired mini games to keep things copacetic - each one different for each executive - and also dazzle them with the finer things in life. By finer things, I mean certain pick ups you’ll acquire whilst blasting away at
asteroids. When you get them, you’re able to go into the menu screen, select your angry executive, and lavish them with food, cars, booze, and money.
Graphically, Vostok keeps it simple and smart with its 2D cartoon look. It’s colorful, and exciting to look at. Lighting and shadows change depending on your proximity to whichever sun - or suns - is in the galaxy you’re zipping through, which makes it cool to see darkness envelope around you the further you fly from the sun. Along with the eye candy, it’s the ear candy that shines here. The synthetic beat tracks in Vostok are awesome. Each galaxy has a different theme, with Castin - the raccoon one - having my favorite music by far. There’s even an option in the menu to play around with some of the music tracks yourself, but I’ll let you discover how that plays out. Side by side with the music is the sound effects, and while not overly original, there are some goods here, such as the light chime your unicorns make as you devastate alien space crafts.
By the time I had finished the game, I felt confident that it was worth my time. There isn’t much in way of a story, it comes down to explore, colonize, profit, destroy - but there is a small narrative running through Vostok Inc. The action is fun, intense, and satisfying. The building can get frustrating, but if you’re aware of how to spend on what to spend it on, you’ll increase your space-wallet enough to advance to the final boss and have one last dance.
This game is fun, and while the replay value might be limited, it’s absolutely worth a look. Try it out, I bet you’ll like it, and hey if you don’t, find me and I’ll buy you a beer and discuss why I think you’re mistaken.
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 9/10
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