In the recent years it has been an increasingly popular genre among, mainly, web games to create a mainly passive game—an idle game if you will. The concept being that the game still makes progress while the player does almost nothing and it continues in the background. Vostok, Inc. takes this this concept, of a more passive advancement system occurring in the background, and attempts to make it more interesting by blending other gameplay mechanics—with mixed results.
The mode of transport is that of a top down 2-D twinstick shooter. At the start of the game, mining asteroids and defeating enemies is almost the main way to earn money, but this very quickly outpaced by planet building and never really matches pace again. Early in the game the NPCs are fun and interesting, but later they are more of an annoyance as more and more cash and ship upgrades become easier to come by – to the point that even end of area bosses are almost jokes.
Here is our stream of Vostok, Inc:
The main capital earning gameplay of Vostok is to build infrastructure on planets on a given solar system, increasing overall income for the massive corporation that the player is forming. Income from one planet, or factory/mine/bank can be used to build another, and it all quickly compounds to the player earning increasingly insane amounts of money in a handful of hours of building a galaxy spanning organization. That isn’t to say that there aren’t other elements mixed in to offset the waiting to build the next row of solar system spanning mines, just that none of them are nearly as profitable.
The problem is that there are a ton of great ideas scattered throughout, with wonderful hooks, but halfway through the second system, and very clearly into the third, everything starts to feel same-y. The worst sin is that it isn’t even that some of the core elements aren’t fun to play anymore, as it is simply that the pacing becomes more and more skewed in odd direction with upgrades being farther way on the enjoyment curve, basically just asking the player to simply wait for them. Added in, when the player is able to afford them, they are basically asked to backtrack to the first planet and start upgrading every single system again to increase profits to the absolute max again without any real method of fast travel between planets. There are also over a dozen retro mini games to play and unlock if you ever need a break from the main game.
Vostok, Inc. is a good game, and it would be even better if a handful of issues were addressed. Thankfully the developer seems to be very active in the steam community forms and is at the very least acknowledging the passing issues in the late game which is something that you rarely see from any dev once a game has shipped. Considering that the game is fairly cheap, and the regularity of steam sales, if anything has even passingly sounded good, pick up this game. It is enjoyable enough and has a supportive team behind it.