Vandals – Review
Follow Genre: Adventure, Casual, Indie, Strategy
Developer: Cosmografik, Novelab, Ex Nihilo
Publisher: ARTE France
Platform: PC, Mac
Tested on: PC

Vandals – Review

Site Score
7.5
Good: -addictive gameplay
Bad: -game stays on the safe side and might feel too much like Lara Croft GO
User Score
0
(0 votes)
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Gang Signs and vandalism aside, graffiti is an amazing artform. Have you ever taken a walk through town or taken a train or bus, then you have mostly likely seen some graffiti somewhere along the way. How does it get there and who puts it there and why? These are all valid questions. Some of them are real pieces of art while some are merely a scribble of paint hastily thrown on a wall. Graffiti has a long history that dates back all the way to 1960.

Story

As any self respecting graffiti artist would know, everything starts with your own personal tag. Your story begins by creating your tag with a simple interface which feels a little like Paint. After creating your tag, the journey begins, roam different big city and leave your mark on Paris, New York and other major cities of the world. There isn’t much story or character development throughout the game. However collecting all the bits and pieces of history of the early adopters of graffiti makes up for that. By the end of the game you’ll have learned plenty about the origins of graffiti.

Graphics

Vandals has a very stylized look, it is well executed and provides us with some nice nighttime scenery of some of the more grungy parts of a big city. The style as well as the gameplay resemble games such as Lara Croft GO. Most levels feel rather unique although some props might have been reused throughout the game.

Since the game is all about graffiti, putting up your tag is a big part of the game or it can be, if you don’t feel like it you can just type something or put one colored dot on the canvas. However if you are feeling creative, it is rather satisfying to take your time and create the perfect tag. The interface feels a little like Paint. You can select a color out of a dozen colors, choose the thickness and freehand away. The spraying of the paint feels realistic, as it will leak some paint along the way. You can also add some text. It’s easy to get carried away and create fantastic masterpieces although this might also be used for drawing d*ckpicks everywhere. How marvelous the human mind is.

Sound

The sound is on point, it adds to the tension with its futuristic up-tempo electronic beat. which also goes for the sound effects, The sound effects are clear and help you keep track of what is going on. The shaking of the paint canister and the typical metallic sound of the ball bouncing around inside and the spray paint sound put you in the mood. Warning don’t go out and spray paint yourself it’s potentially dangerous and could cost you a serious fine if they catch you.

Gameplay

Vandals is a turn-based puzzle game pur-sang. It clearly took a good look at Hitman GO and Lara Croft GO for its gameplay. Each map consists of a network of nodes on which the player can move. Each node is connected with one or more nodes. The player needs to get from the starting point to a specific location on which they can spray their tag. After leaving your mark upon the world, you need to make your way to the exit point. Sounds simple enough right? Too bad that not everyone is a fan off your art, some maps will have one or more police officers on the scene. Some of them might be dozing off and don’t pay much attention to their surroundings, while other might be patrolling, with a flashlight in their hands. If they spot you they will chase you and arrest you if they reach the node next to you, luckily they can only move one node for every node that you move. Upon spraying you’ll alert all nearby police officers, luckily you have some tricks up your sleeves.

Some roads can only be taken by the players, for example a hole in a fence or the sewers can be used by the player, but not by police, however they will be able to see you if they are looking your way. Sometimes you can also create the hole in the fence yourself but this might also attract unwanted attention to you and that specific location but it does add an extra escape route. You have some attributes to distract the coppers, as you can whistle to draw attention or throw bottles as a distraction. Each of these methods has their advantages and disadvantages, as whistling will draw your enemies closer, but a bottle will send them off in a different direction. Hiding in the bushes will allow you to skip one or more turns and watch everyone walk straight by you.

If you reach the hot spot, a beautiful empty canvas awaits and you have a chance to spray a tag, it uses the same interface as when creating your original tag. If you failed the level and replay it, your previous tag will still be there and you can choose to leave it or replace it with a new creation. Upon leaving your tag, it’s time to haul ass towards the exit as nearby police officers will be on the lookout for you. Sometimes there are bonus stars to be found, they are optional but increase your score upon completing the level. They are often found on difficult locations but add an extra challenge for the hardcore puzzle fans. After completing each level you receive a score based different factors, the amount of turns you took to complete the level, whether or not you were spotted by the police at any point and if you collected any bonus stars throughout the level. Throughout the levels you can click on shiny pamphlets to read more about the history of graffiti art and famous tags like TAKI 183 who was very active in the 1960s and 1970s in New York.

 

Conclusion

Vandals is a very entertaining puzzle game, it’s incredibly satisfying to spray a tag on a digital wall after making your way through the levels. The game never feels too difficult, you can challenge yourself to go for the perfect score but since this is optional the game caters to a wider audience.

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Rex
Rex


I am an Illustrator/Artist who studies Concept Art and Game Design in my free time. Designing things is in my blood and I am always very curious in making games. Motivated and dedicated to become better in every way I can. You only live once and I intend to fully enjoy it! As for gaming itself I do prefer to play the following games: FPS, RPG, Action Adventure Games, Fighting Games, Hack and Slash.

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