VELONE – Review
Follow Genre: Puzzle game
Developer: ZAR 21
Publisher: Daedalic Entertainment
Platform: PC
Tested on: PC

VELONE – Review

Site Score
Good: Tutorials are decent
Bad: Terrible to look at, Puzzles just aren't fun
User Score
(0 votes)
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VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)

VELONE is not ZAR 21’s first game, but it is their first game in a while. They released a point-and-click adventure back in 2017, but now returned for a more traditional puzzle experience. This game is all about making mechanisms and programming them, using logic. If this sounds boring to you, well… it kind of is. We won’t pretend VELONE doesn’t feel like homework more than a video game at certain points. And that’s really only the start of the issues we have with this title, making it an unsatisfying experience.


A crude cutscene at the start of the game tries to set up what little plot VELONE has. An alien species contacts you asking for help. Their planet is falling apart and the fragile ecosystem is torn to shreds. Their only hope is a series of elemental stones that can only be put together by complicated machinery, which you as a human can control for them. In between the roughly forty levels of the game, you get more lore about the alien planet, its history, and its wildlife. It’s hard to sew this lore together into a proper storyline honestly, especially as there are not really any developed characters to get attached to or an overarching plot aside from the impending doom of the planet. It feels more like a bad framework to tie levels together.


VELONE doesn’t look too great, honestly. The interface looks clunky and cheap even for an indie game, and the cutscenes run anything but smoothly despite not even being that advanced. Most of the buttons are way too small, while others are ridiculously big. The overall cheap look of the game isn’t helped by the several advertisements for the publisher’s other games that take up a majority of the main menu. It feels more fitting for a free-to-play mobile title than an actual release we pay money for.


While the soundtrack of VELONE can’t be described as bad, it’s certainly not great either. If anything, a vast majority of the music could probably be called forgettable, doing nothing more than forming a background noise while you solve the puzzles (or get increasingly frustrated at the puzzles). Even worse, the game does have voice acting in the cutscenes but it’s amateurish at best, to a point where it probably would have been better if the devs had left voice acting out altogether.


VELONE is a puzzle game where you create automated production processes. That sounds complicated, so to put it in more simple terms: you build machines. These machines need to make specific types of elemental stones, and each level will tell you exactly which types of stones you need to make to complete it. The game starts you off with nothing but a spot to drop the finished elemental stone. All the rest is up to you. You have different types of raw material and machinery available you can put on the map, ranging from robotic arms and rails to elemental converters. Once you put everything down the way you want it, you program the sequence. So for example, putting down a robotic arm alone isn’t enough. You need to tell it to pick something up, rotate it, move, and put it down somewhere else.

This makes the game very involved and you need to pay attention to little details. Thankfully the tutorials do a good job of explaining the mechanics. As you play, you can replay your current sequence, fast forward through it, and rewind at will. That way you can find out exactly where you went wrong. Each level gets more complicated, needing more stones to complete or adding small obstacles. There are always multiple solutions, and if you want to challenge yourself, you can try to solve a puzzle as quickly as possible, or while using the least machinery. Adding these little challenges is also the only way to get more out of the game since it’s really just forty levels. None of them are too complicated, and there’s no real replay value. You’ll play through them pretty quickly.

Add to that the basic fact that the puzzles aren’t even that fun, and you can see why we’re disappointed. The UI makes the programming finicky and there’s not any worldbuilding or lore to keep you engaged, so VELONE feels like a ripoff of a much better puzzle game you can find on Steam with ease. Most other games in this genre at least have a workshop so players can make their own levels, but VELONE misses even that.


The harsh truth is that there’s not much to praise here. The game is badly made, not a lot of fun to play, and just overall not worth the money. You will be annoyed at the puzzles more than you will enjoy them, and its only saving grace is that it’s not long enough to feel like real wasted time even if you complete it. We expected a lot more here, and even an engaging story would have added much-needed charm to the equation.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Games are my escape and writing is my passion.

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