Vroom-Kaboom-Review Vroom Kaboom Review

   19/10/2018 at 13:22       Chris OToole       0 COMMENTS. - Score 3/5
 - Racing, Tower Defence, VR, PS4

Review by Rich Boulton.

 

So, I guess this is a tower-defense-car-combat-collectible-card-free-to-play game. The idea of coming up with an elevator pitch for Vroom Kaboom seems like an insurmountable challenge. Even watching videos of gameplay only gives you a partial sense of what the game actually is. The only way to communicate it is with a detailed description of the setup, so… here we go?

Each match has two players, one is at either end of the play area. Your view will begin by your base - you have two installations to protect, one to the left and one to the right. You know that, in the distance, your opponent has the same layout going on. In between is a road, or set of roads, heading directly from one base to the other. The objective is to deplete the health of your opponents’ installations, eventually destroying them to win the game. 

Your method of destruction is, primarily, launching vehicles into these installations at maximum speed, doing a variable amount of damage based on a number of factors. The road(s) between you and the opponent are split into lanes which your vehicles can travel down in a more or less straight line. As they make their way along the road, some have special abilities they can engage, such as firearms, ramming, etc. Additionally items are strewn across the roads - resource pickups as well as mines which attach to your vehicle up to a maximum of 5, and when attached to a vehicle heading straight into an installation will increase the damage done.

Of course as you send vehicles out of your base on their kamikaze mission, your opponent is doing the same, and the two are likely to meet along the way. The weapons and abilities can be used against enemies to take them out before they have the chance to damage your facilities. To prevent absolute mayhem, you are restricted in the vehicles you can send out through the resource systems. There are two resources to collect, oil and fire, mostly obtained by driving through them out on the road, although that is not the only method. Vehicles are all presented initially as a deck of cards - your hand at any one time is a selection of cards you can currently choose to place on track. To do so you will need to be able to sacrifice the number of either oil or fire resources stated in the top corner of the card. Prior to the game you can set up your decks by choosing which cards are available, so like any good CCG half of the fun is in deck building. Each card also has a scrap value, so if you choose to drop it from your hand, you will gain that number of resource points.

As you dispatch your destruction-mobiles, they start to travel along the road. If you remove your focus from them, the AI will take control, moving between lanes, heading toward the enemy base, and launching at one of the installations. This AI is limited (although improved in the recent 1.01 patch) so micro-management is the order of the day as much as is feasible, to be as effective as you possibly can. 

This is a lot to get your head around, and the recent tutorial additions are extremely welcome, greatly improving the onboarding over the state at launch. The controls for console are not ideal, particularly in PSVR where Moves are mandatory and directing your vehicle between lanes is incredibly imprecise. Although when a match becomes particularly hectic and you begin dragging cards out of your hand with motion controls and switching back and forth between live vehicles, it can occasionally coalesce into something almost thrilling. 

The VR is a pleasant addition (particularly with the new cockpit view), and highlights the enjoyable settings, which cover such tropes as Mad Max style wastelands and futuristic highways, with matching vehicle sets (each has its own deck). The aesthetics aren’t original enough though to really draw you in and engage the player in the collecting that is so key given the importance of the CCG elements here. 

There is some depth to the gameplay, although so much of it simply comes from there being so much going on at any one time, and your own reluctance to let the AI play its part in your impending victory. Trying to keep everything on track, monitor the health of your own and the opponents’ bases, review resources and overall strategy, can all feel like more luck than judgement. Overall there is an interesting mix of game types and influences at play, and the significant improvements in the recent patch hopefully point to ongoing support, but as it stands the various elements are not stitched together into a truly compelling or inspiring video game.

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