I’ve never been the best at puzzles. Especially puzzles that are about controlling two different things at the same time. But there’s something different about VESTA from Spanish developer Final Boss Games. VESTA follows a young girl, coincidentally named Vesta, who has to navigate through a desolate labyrinth to reach a supercomputer named M.U.M. in an attempt to figure out what happened to rest of humanity.
Thankfully, Vesta isn’t alone on this journey. She is joined by Bot, who offers tidbits of help and guidance, and Droid, an old military bot who acts as the muscle and protection for Vesta. I often got confused on who was Bot and who was Droid, so I came up with a nickname for Droid. I called Droid, Bulb for the massive light bulb looking dome that acts as his face. With this, VESTA is a heartwarming coming of age story. The dialogue between Vesta, Bulb, and Bot is full of sass and offers a couple chances at character development.
As stated before, the meat of the game is solving complex puzzles while controlling Vesta and Bulb. Whether that be having Bulb block wind, allowing Vesta to sneak by, or by having Vesta crawl through a pipe to power a generator that allows Bulb to continue along. The sense of progression and difficulty of the puzzles starts off fairly simply. The puzzle is laid out, giving players a chance to scope the field and come up with a plan of action. Any puzzle is failed when Vesta is injured once, or when Bulb is hit three times. Failing a puzzle means restarting the entire puzzle over. There are checkpoints in the larger and later levels, but each puzzle turns into a massive trial and error session that can go either positive or negative. There were one too many puzzles in which I felt like the best way to move forward was to fail constantly just to see what happens next, and that does get frustrating in some of the more complex levels.
Yes, the game has flaws, but VESTA excels when it comes to atmosphere and sound design. The atmosphere is bleak enough to set a tone of importance but is simple enough to keep players focused on the task at hand. And the music is simple but had me completely enraptured. It was something that I always noticed was happening in the background but simple enough to hum along with to keep me going. The sprites are simply designed, but I think it adds a touch of nostalgia to the characters.
If you’re looking for a simple puzzle game to sink a couple of hours into, then VESTA is for you. But if you’re a die-hard puzzle fan then maybe pass on VESTA. It’s got a compelling story, great characters, and it looks and plays like a dream. But the difficulty spike coupled with the unforgiving checkpoints and fail system could push away certain players. If you’ve got some time to kill and aren’t afraid of a challenge, then I suggest picking up VESTA.
Vesta is available on PC, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One. This review is based on the PlayStation 4 version provided by the developer for this review.