Vostok Inc. is made up of a combination of ‘clicker’-style gameplay (where you essentially set things up and wait for results to happen with hardly any interaction) and twin-stick shooter moments (where you fight off aliens by shooting a whole host of weapons from your spaceship). The combination of the two might look a little mad on paper, but, in reality, the two actually sit together rather nicely.
Your only goal is a simple one: get rich quick. You’ll be exploring solar systems (there are six to discover in total) with the aim of setting up as many money-making facilities on each one’s planets as possible, upgrading them to be more efficient as time goes on. At first, when you only have the worth of a pencil and bit of fluff to your name, things feel incredibly daunting; you’ll be seeing future purchases needing money in the quadrillions (whatever that is) and you might find yourself thinking you’ll never get there. It doesn’t take long, however, to really find your rhythm and start raking in the moolah.
As you start to make money from the facilities you’ve placed, you’ll find yourself able to buy more expensive – but much more productive – facilities to add to your earnings. This results in a steady, but always increasing, supply to your income and watching the numbers rise higher and higher is truly exciting. We start to really get the hang of things when we arrive at the second solar system - suddenly everything runs like clockwork and we know exactly how we want to go forwards with our plans.
Whenever you come away from managing a planet, you’ll find yourself exploring the galaxy to find new areas, listening to your comical advisor Jimmy talk absolute nonsense in your ear, locating managers who can increase your entire profit by a certain percentage, smashing open asteroids for extra cash, or heading to your base to purchase upgrades to your ship, radar and weapons. You see, while making money is your primary objective, you’ll need to work on other things, too, and your combat skills are essential to staying safe during exploration and to progress to new worlds.
Each solar system contains a slightly different set of enemies, all of which are trying to kill you to claim dominance over that particular system. You’ll need to fight them off by flying around with the left stick (as you always do), and shooting with the right stick. Sometimes you’ll get stuck in locked-screen situations, where enemies will surround you until you can defeat several waves, and each solar system has a boss that must be cleared before you are able to move on. Without the upgrades you’ll find yourself over-powered rather quickly, especially with some particular tough boss fights if your equipment isn’t up to scratch, and there’s nothing worse than losing all of your health while exploring as doing so will cost you half of your current money total (which will eventually be staggering amounts).
There are a few other things to keep you busy, too; an amazingly long list of achievements is included for you to work your way through (although many will pop through normal gameplay), and there are even mini-games that are presented on little Tamagotchi-type displays. The mini-games included are all arcade-style offerings such as dodging as many cars as you can, or shooting down as many enemies as possible for high scores, and all of this is there so that you can collect goodies to present to your managers. If your managers aren’t happy your income bonuses will drop so you need to constantly keep on top of things.
The only problem here, which does leak through to the entire game as a whole, is the constant need to grind. The mini-games are nice at first, but eventually they’ll become a nuisance as you have to play them over and over to keep your money coming in. Likewise, after you’ve made your way through several solar systems you’ll start to grow rather tired of the same formula happening over and over again.
We actually go through phases of being utterly delighted with the game (at times it can feel really addictive and the thought of sitting on it for a few more minutes to afford the next upgrade was always in the back of our minds), but that always fades away into a sense of boredom or annoyance. Every part of the game works nicely (apart from some initially hard to find menus) and the money-making, combat and comedic style of the game all feel great at first, but they all start to wear you down with the repetitive nature of your required actions (or lack thereof) after a while.
Vostok Inc’s blend of money-generating ‘clicker’ gameplay and frantic twin-stick shooter action works well; as you find yourself getting to grips with the necessary procedures and start to have a system in place, you’ll find an increasing amount of fun in the game’s upgrade systems, combat, and exploration.
Unfortunately, this fun reaches a peak around halfway through your adventure as you realise that you’re spending an awful lot of time doing the exact same things over and over again. Vostok Inc is a good game that will definitely provide you with several hours of enjoyment and, if you like the sound of its mixed genre, we’d encourage you to try it out – just make sure you’re ready to follow similar tasks for a long time if you do.