Vostok Inc scratches an itch I never knew I had, keeping my attention longer than some of my other Switch games.
There’s something endearing about the way it merges fast-natured twin-stick shooting with fulfilling clicker gameplay, making for a surprisingly effective combination. It’s seriously addictive, and now it can be played portably. A dangerous combination.
It starts simply enough. Shoot some asteroids, collect some moolah, and head to the Motherbase to harness a few upgrades. But when you start sniffing out new planets and fighting a variety of enemy space ships, the game starts to open up. On the discovery of each planet, you can excavate moolah from a mine so the game continually earns money for you in the background – as all good clickers should – and adding various upgrades can improve gains and collection rates.
You can move through the solar system free roam in your little ship, boosting around, visiting planets which can also be populated with power plants, farms, waste processing, and even government offices. It’s all about building and expanding your empires, earning more and more money while doing it.
But Vostok Inc differs from the competition in that, by gathering too much Moolah, a boss battle is unlocked and the screen is fixed into place. Then it’s a battle for your life as you fend off tons of little enemy craft while avoiding various fire patterns and defeating the big bad. You’ll get handsomely rewarded for doing so, though, earning a substantial sum at the end as the game tallies up your combos. Naturally, these won’t be easy and it’s possible to die. And if your ship does blast into smithereens, you’ll be respawned at the cost of around half your Moolah. Ouch!
Fortunately, with upgrades you can pinpoint where boss battles are going to happen if you want to avoid them or don’t quite feel prepared. There’s also an auto-lock on trigger which can make it easier to attack and defend yourself. And you can level up your ship by defeating enemies, gaining more shield capacity and boost speed, though this inevitably comes with tougher enemies, and steeper difficulty curve!
Unlike a Clicker Heroes or Planetera, the animations to accompany the transitions between screens are quite stunning. When your vessel sails outward and the blasters flicker away from the screen, it can actually be quite dazzling. Likewise the animation as your ship is about to touch down is beautifully done.
Vostok Inc has this incredible awareness of your achievements, and rewards you accordingly. With around 500 little accomplishments to unlock as you play – like, boosting for two full minutes or collecting x amount of Moolah – there’s a lot to keep you occupied. There’s even quirky little mini games to break up the action, meaning you’re not just doing the same old things again and again.
I was a bit surprised to find no touch controls in Vostok Inc, though. The menus lend themselves to easy finger taps and swipes, so it was disappointing not to be able to do that. Likewise, you don’t seem to earn any Moolah if you’re outside the game. Sure, Moolah is earned if you’re sat in the menus, but if you exit Vostok at any point, the counter automatically stops. It’s a pretty common find in most games in the genre, then again, Vostok Inc is incredibly well built, designed and flesched out, not just thrown together for a quick buck with invasive microtransactions or intrusive ads
If Geometry Wars and Clicker Heroes had a baby, Vostok Inc would be its offspring. It’s fun, satisfying, engrossing, and addictive. Whether you’re in for a quick ten minute blast, or it takes up half your night, Vostok Inc will draw you in like few other games on Switch. Don’t sleep on it!
+ Addictive gameplay
+ Sharp mechanics
+ Lovely art style
+ Well designed and most importantly, fun
– No touch controls
– Difficulty can ramp up quite quickly
– Could be a bit pricey for some
8 out of 10
Tested on Switch