Written by Remko Molenaar (Proxzor)
Ratloop Games Canada, the studio behind VROOM KABOOM, thought they would spice things up and decided to take a metaphorical blender. In this blender they threw a card collectible system, elements of a tower defense system they call ‘Tower Rush with Vehicles’, and a sprig of online multiplayer chaos. The result? You have got yourself the recipe for Vroom Kaboom, a game that tries to make it work with a mesh of currently popular genres that all shine and have sparked the light of many modern games. Does Vroom Kaboom define another successful concept with its destruction and chaos, or is the idea too optimistic? Let’s find out!
When you look at Vroom Kaboom, you can see the game from two completely different perspectives. The game is fundamentally made to be a card collectible game, with a foundation that provides the user the ability to make a deck of cards that plays to their liking and playstyle. A new player doesn’t have a lot of room to play with because of a limited card selection, but the game is seen more as this endless destruction derby of throwing cars in the right direction, and destroying everything that comes on their path – be it either the opponents’ cards spawned as vehicles and rockets, or the oil tanks that ultimately need to be taken down to win the game.
This is why both sides of the fence matter. The game is very basic when you look at it, but the card system and the strategy during the gameplay is what makes it shine and gives it more depth. In the early stages of the game, you want to be pumping out cost effective and cheap vehicles, like simple cards with cars that jump to gather Oil from obstacles all over the map. Think ramps, jumps and other crazy ways you can grab oil or even extra cards. Since the oil is used to play more cards, and overrun your opponent with a strong force of destruction, you can play this game very differently depending on the style of the player, and the set of cards they use.
Vroom Kaboom features three factions: SkullBorough, Drift City, and Soul Station. Each one of these factions have their own unique cards with vehicles to drive, even their own environments. Although the principle stays the same, and the layout may differ, it’s a nice change of pace. They even have their own style and music to give you that extra feeling of who you are representing. But each faction has the same type of vehicles, including Motorbikes, Tanks, Trucks, Cars, Helicopters, Rockets, and Airplanes. Each one of these vehicles usually comes with its own set of skills that you can use strategically. The controls of Vroom Kaboom are very easy in principle, but in practice take a bit of skill to fully get used to.
You can play as many cards as you have oil for, and each one of the vehicles on the cards you decide to play can be controlled when thrown on the field. Steering the vehicle sideways can be done with a simple click on your left mouse button, or for better accuracy you can hold it down. But why exactly would you need to steer? Well all over the map you will find ramps and other obstacles that help you get more Oil or even extra cards that spawn. Even behind the enemy are oil tanks; you are able to gain cards when you do not aim for one of the tanks to make them explode. Each card also has its own skill, be it either just jumping really high, shooting turrets, or a shockwave to damage any passing car. Each vehicle can be utilized differently, and this paying attention as to what is coming towards you, and what is specifically in your deck, is of the most utmost importance when trying to win your game.
Each vehicle also has its health value, and when your vehicle takes enough damage it simply explodes. But you can also effectively take down the opponents’ vehicles by driving into them, because why make it just simply explode, when you can take something with it?! If you would rather see it head to the ‘finish line’ and drive straight into one of the oil tankers or the extra cards that respawn once in a while, you can also use the nitro and blast your way past everything. This is especially useful with missiles that lock on target, and still have a hundred meter ‘sprint’ before they reach their destination. Ut gives you that little bit of insurance that you know the payload is heading towards its target.
Graphically, the game looks very basic, and although simple, still looks done somewhat right. It’s nothing special, and even the sound isn’t something that would necessarily open your eyes and make you think you are playing the next big thing. Vroom Kaboom is a very basic concept, and despite having the style of two very successful genres, it feels like it falls a little bit short in overall design. While the card collecting is enjoyable, it also made me feel like there wasn’t a whole lot of depth, since most of the basic decks you use already have a lot of the available vehicles, and it feels like there are only a few of them missing here and there.
The game is completely free to play as of this moment, but does have premium DLC to help you out a little. I was curious what the community would say, especially because of its integrated VR support that brings this game to a whole new level. Funny enough, I found someone mentioning something that I heavily agree with: The game as of right now, might be very confusing for new players, and almost feels like a ‘Frankenstein’ of a game. This is exactly what Vroom Kaboom appears to be. From the outside it looks like a mess, and once you get going you definitely experience what makes the game fun, but also immediately makes you notice how shallow the game can be. While the card system adds some extra depth, it doesn’t have that ‘oomph’ I was hoping to find. I did enjoy myself for a couple hours of playing, I would like to see more from the game if I want to spend more time with it.
Final Rating: Fair (2/5): Vroom Kaboom does a few things right, and it’s definitely fun for an hour or so, but needs some more depth for people to stick around.
Ed.: Since this review was written but before publication, the game launched a patch offering an improved tutorial and miscellaneous improvements.
A game key was provided for review purposes.
Vroom Kaboom Screenshots