Excerpt: Whenever a game has gears, cranks or monocles, the term "steampunk" gets tossed around liberally, but how many games actually use steam as a key gameplay component? In Vessel, steam is kind of a big deal, and so is the water and molten metal you’ll mix to create it. Playing as M. Arkwright, a brilliant but big-headed inventor locked out of his own factory, you’ll need to manipulate these raw elements to regain control over your own complex machinery.
Pros: The soundtrack, Tough puzzles, Those funny Fluros
Cons: Loose controls, Imprecise platforming, Having your patience tried
Summary: An excellent puzzle game with remarkable technical achievements, Vessel is a shining example of the indie scene's potential. Some puzzles border on sadism, but the rest of the game makes up for the occasional frustration.
Excerpt: In a steampunk world, something has gone horribly wrong. Liquid automatons, normally reliable, have gotten stuck into a self-replicating loop that's gone haywire. It's up their sideburned creator to find out what's wrong, while exploring the implications of a creation he thought he understood.
Excerpt: It seems a precarious juxtaposition that in 2012, a gamer can be overwhelmed by the sheer quantity of quality 2D platformers. The genre has garnered momentum for many years as a result of the comparative ease of digital distribution, but tighter budgets and a generation-fatigue have made this an opportune time to pitch small and creative titles.
Conclusion: If you’re a fan of puzzle-platformers, Vessel is about as good as they get. With fun mechanics, great graphics, and excellent puzzles, Vessel manages to be an all-around impressive title. You can get it on Steam, but you can also buy it on the developer’s site to get a DRM-free version in addition to a Steam key. Vessel is also planned for release on XBLA and PSN for now, so keep an eye out for it if you mainly stick to consoles.
Conclusion: I think Strange Loop Games had a lot of nice and genuinely cool ideas that were decently executed. For the most part Vessel is fun, creative, and deals very well with fluid dynamics (congratulations to the programmer[s] responsible). It’s a shame that such a crucial component of the game is executed so poorly.
Summary: Welcome to the world of Vessel. Living water going went on strike and you are the only man who can whip them back into shape. This physics-puzzler slowly puts you throw the ringer as you not only have to move liquid, but move the simple minded Fluro to get your masterpiece moving again. For any fan of steam punk or just a good brainteaser, this is surely one puzzle you can't pass up.
Pros: Creative use of both fluid and AI mechanics, Very forgiving, Amazing world filled with sights and music
Cons: Solutions can be a little messy, Added bonuses not really a bonus, Story doesn't really come together
Excerpt: When a glitch prevents you from defeating the game's final boss and the only thing you feel is relief, I'd say it's a pretty good indication that you haven't been having much fun. But unlike the silly games you usually play, Vessel isn't exactly about 'fun'. It's more about pumping blood into your atrophied, "pew-pew" obsessed brain. And let me tell you, it's a painful process. In Vessel, you're the rat in the maze and the game plays you (Okay, that just freaks me out.
Pros: Advanced mind gymnastics for serious puzzle enthusiasts, slightly innovative gameplay reminsicent of that found in Abe's Oddysee and Abe's Exoddus, music is sparse but good;
Cons: Repetitive and predominantly boring environments, Vessel is more about hard work than about fun gameplay.
Conclusion: The Short Version: Vessel is a truly superior puzzler and one of 2012's biggest indie hitters. More impressively, though, it's also destined to be one of the very best games of the year, period. Quality, quantity, innovation and competence abound, making for an essential PC purchase. Get involved and ensure that this surprise success story becomes a sleeper hit.
Pros: Exceptional, varied, satisfying puzzles, Extraordinary fluid simulation, physics engine and mechanics, Incredibly lengthy, great value for money
Cons: A few clipping issues, Lack of hints/overt signposting will deter the casual crowd