Vanilla Gate Review:Left With Questions
By Eline Stiekema, OnRPG Journalist
It's hard to explain what Vanilla Gate is about. I'm afraid the exact storyline of this game is a secret which is well kept by the developers, because I haven't been able to find it anywhere. The website isn't very helpful either. The only clue we can derive from the site is the following: "Main character gets into the planet Vanilla by chance. He has to go back home along with losts that he meets there and there are ancient cultural stuff that is needed to explore and get potal to go home." Okay, we'll see.
Downloading and installing the game is easy, and creating a character isn't much of a problem. There's not a lot of choice in hairstyles, clothes and attributes, but the stuff you can pick looks nice and there's enough room for variation. But then, you are going to want to find out how to play, who you are going to fight, what problem must be solved, and why. This turns out to be a bit of a problem. Reading the information on the website is usually a good start, but it seems like the developers haven't been able to put the game info into comprehensible English.
You can also do the tutorial, which is more helpful, but also kind of boring and repetitive. You learn the most important controls, but the orders the 'drill instructor' gives are often a little unclear, and you have to repeat certain moves until you get them right. When you can't make it because you don't understand what it is exactly that you have to do, your time just runs out and you have to start again. At one point I got so frustrated that I quit the tutorial and just started playing the game.
There are three modes of gameplay: single, team and quest. Each mode has its own rooms. Unfortunately, often the rooms are either full or busy. There are many rooms that seem to have been created for one person, which I found very surprising, because I didn't manage to create a room myself. Neither the Help topic, nor the game manual provided a solution for this problem, so it's still a mystery to me.
If there isn't a room you can join but you want to play, creating your own room seems the only way. Sadly, playing is still not an option once you have created your own room. There you are, in your own cute little room, which you have restricted to two players... waiting. Yes, now you have to wait until player two joins in. This can take quite a while, because Vanilla Gate doesn't seem to have that many players. To kill the time, you get to solve math assignments for extra points. Yes, seriously: math. They call it a quiz but it's only doing randomly generated sums. For hours, if you aren't lucky enough to find a partner. 52-60=? 43-39=? 134+55=? Boring!
I tried to find a solution for this, so I looked on the forum, which was full of complaints from players dealing with the same issues. I didn't see anyone providing a solution, except begging for friends on the board so they could play together. In the chat I asked if there were other players waiting to join a room, but half of my message was cut off and I didn't get a response. So I created a new 'single' room and just waited. Eventually, someone joined in and we could finally start.
Smashing Heads for Fun
We didn't have any idea what was expected from us, so we just started beating each other up and that proved to be the right thing to do. It was fun, but it wasn't anything special.
I also tried doing a quest. At first this was fun, but it soon got repetitive because I was stuck on the first level, although I did everything right and scored the highest possible amount of points. The same level just started over and over again. I also couldn't find a solution for this problem. I played the first level from each of the three quests that are available, but didn't get further. Very weird.
Beaten by the game
Unfortunately, I couldn't find anything that makes Vanilla Gate stand apart from other games. It's just a bunch of stuff that has been done many times before, wrapped in an obscure storyline. Nothing seems to be new or original. And the questions concerning what the game is about remain unanswered, just like a number of questions about problems that arise when playing. Vanilla Gate is quite fun to pass the time, but it's likely to get boring really quickly, because it has a lot of repetitive elements. Graphics and sounds are also disappointing. Although I've had moments when I really enjoyed this game, I would not recommend it.
- Simply fun to pass the time.
- Styling of character is simple, but looks nice.
- No clear information about the game or solutions to arising problems.
- Takes a long time before game starts, with boring sums to pass the time.
- Sounds and graphics are overall kind of disappointing.
- A lot of repetitive elements.