Remember all those incremental clicker games that were a craze a few years ago? If you’re unfamiliar, these games were notorious for causing severe hand cramps by revolving around a “click to make currency” design. All you had to do was click a button or something similar until you made enough money to build automatic harvesters. At that point, you could simply idle and watch the cash roll in. Vostok Inc. reimagines this concept by replacing the clicking aspect with actual gameplay. It prevents idling from becoming an immediate bore, and throws interactive, fast-paced space warfare into the mix.
While the core of Vostok Inc. still centers around automated profiting, it’s partially disguised as a space-shooter adventure. You play as CEO of the intergalactic money-hungry corporation, Vostok, and must travel from planet to planet to build factories. On the way, you’ll face bounty hunters and space mafia who will do anything to see you and your company dead. Placing buildings on planets is the real goal here, and everything else is essentially a mini-game to pass the time and keep you entertained. Unlike most other clicker titles, Vostok Inc. is filled with easter eggs, humorous dialogue, and interactive events.
Traveling around the solar system is done in real-time as you man a small spacecraft equipped with weapons and shields. Getting from one planet to the next takes less than 30 seconds, but enemies swarm every inch of the galaxy. Although engaging every last opponent is fun for a short while, you’ll quickly want to ignore them and get to your destinations as quickly as possible. To prevent you from avoiding combat in its entirety, the game occasionally forces a “screen-locked battle”, where the screen freezes and enemies rush your ship. Luckily there’s a spot-on balance where these mandatory combat events don’t occur too frequently, yet provide decent enough rewards for them to be worth your time.
In general, the shooter aspect of the game is somewhat clunky and makes you think the focus was aimed toward the clicker aspect. Enemies just rush you randomly from all directions, and it’s extremely difficult to aim or dodge. Boss battles were the only time where I felt like I was playing a polished twin-stick shooter, as they have defined attack patterns with a menacing appearance. However, bosses are scarce and can only be unlocked once certain monetary milestones are reached. Regular enemies are meant to be distracting, but become downright annoying once you get used to them. Although the shooter mechanics aren’t the best here, the fact they even exist already redefines the clicker genre.
On the clicker side of Vostok Inc., we find the classic formula many of us have already seen. All you have to do is place buildings of increasing efficiency on planets and manage your resources to purchase upgrades which further drive profits. There isn’t much strategy involved, and the whole idea gets repetitive after a few hours. You can’t deny the concept is addicting though. Watching your net worth go from thousands to trillions is satisfying, but staring at a number isn’t that much fun in my opinion. To keep your mind from going numb, there are literally hundreds of achievements and jokes scattered throughout the game.
Vostok Inc. knows it needs to keep the player interested. Expanding on this idea, Jimmy, the stereotypical corporate worker, makes appearances every once in a while to crack jokes and make references to popular culture. The game’s graphics are colourful and cartoony, and there’s even a music mixing minigame thrown into the pause menu. However, nothing can totally save Vostok Inc. from the grind it centers around. Granted, it makes a valiant effort to avoid going stale for as long as possible.
Vostok Inc. is enjoyable more for its concept than execution, as it was quite clever to fuse a twin-stick shooter with an idling game. It took some time to get overly repetitive and I enjoyed it up until that point. For those who have already beaten their fair share of clicker games, there isn’t enough reason to play this one until the endgame. Others will be pulled into the path to virtual riches as their subconscious drive for success is gripped by the hands of corporate enterprise. Ultimately, Vostok Inc. is a pioneer of the clicker genre but isn’t anything more.
Vostok Inc. (Reviewed on Windows)
Game is enjoyable, outweighing the issues there may be.
Vostok Inc. is enjoyable more for its concept than execution, as it was quite clever to fuse a twin-stick shooter with an idling game. For those who have already beaten their fair share of clicker games, there isn’t enough reason to play this one until the endgame.