A Completely Different Ball Game
With a concept of tower defense, but gameplay closer to battle cars, Vroom Kaboom challenges players by forcing their hand at defending their oil towers while simultaneously taking out their opponents. Everything seems like your standard strategy game up until it’s time to execute; that’s when it becomes a completely different ball game.
Hurling down a desert path in a heavily armed bus is only one of the many intense situations you’ll continuously find yourself in throughout Vroom Kaboom. The game is run by an extremely simple concept of drawing specific cards that require one of two resources: oil or fire. Each card typically summons an offensive combat vehicle but sprinkles in a variety of defensive objects, like barriers to the mix as well. The objective is to then steer your vehicle by switching lanes down a long, windy road from point A to point B, collecting resources and sticky land mines along the way, survive oncoming opponents and to the end the run by catapulting into one of two enemy oil towers.
A Smashing Dose Of Strategy
At first, it’s easy to get sucked into a slow pace of sending one combative vehicle at a time to ensure you get the most out of every card draw. But, soon enough you’ll realize that when enemies are sending three or four vehicles your direction your odds of coming out successful diminish greatly. Keeping up your opponents is every part of the battle as the key objective to victory is whoever destroys the other tower(s) first. Knowing this, the game allows players to switch between multiple vehicles on the course at once which makes for a constant speed of destruction derby-like mayhem infused with strategic gameplay elements.
During a battle, players choose their cards out of a deck that is randomly distributed based on your unlocked card collection. Players play cards based on how many oil and fire resource points they have by collecting icons on the course, or by constructing a specific resource generator. Every card costs a number of one of the two resources, from one oil point for a nimble motorcycle to ten points to summon a carnage inducing helicopter. Fear not, if you’re low on both resources and no way of drawing a card, a free moped card is thrown your way to help give you an edge in collecting additional resources.
This system works incredibly well and actually requires players to navigate the course with a fast-acting sense of strategy. But, choosing your cards is only the first step. Each destruction vehicle comes handy with a special skill that can greatly increase your odds of dealing damage. There are also a number of collectible land mines that stick to your car and deal additional damage if you heave yourself into an oil tower. Head mounted assault weapons allows players to destroy any passing opponents, boost jumps launch players over headhunting traffic or trigger a magnetic ability to gather more resources from the course are only a few example of combat-ready special abilities attached to every vehicle. Every vehicle also comes with a rechargeable boost to help reach insane speeds to hurl yourself at your opponent’s oil towers.
While selecting the best card to draw acts as a subtle method of turn-based strategy, controlling these destructive vehicles handles more like a racing game. While you won’t control aspects of certain racing mechanics such as throttle or braking, switching lanes feels very smooth and almost allows an inadvertent fluid steering element to the experience. Dealing numerous cards at once populates the course, so dodging everything from standing obstacles, enemy gunfire to oncoming opponent racers, as well as aiming for resources, boost pads and car launching jumps requires precise and sharp reaction time.
Sometimes It’s A Team Win
While you’ll have your frequent one-on-one engagements throughout the course of your Vroom Kaboom career, you’ll also often pair up with teammates. Crowded competition in a 3v3 match up is an adrenaline infused experience, but tends to grow somewhat infuriating when every card draw ends in your death mid-way through the course. The pure carnage of a handful of players each dealing multiple cards on the course at once will often have you being fired upon from multiple angles while your only defense is to either swerve uncontrollably or the off-chance your vehicle is equipped with the “jump” ability. Again, it can become a bit frustrating after a dozen cards drawn and you’ve yet to deal any damage to your opponents oil towers, but is more often an early game issue. Once you’ve aligned yourself with the control scheme and discover different strategies for winning, it does become quite entertaining.
The game also has its own currency system with scrap metal bits earned after every victory. With every victory you’re also rewarded with a loot box which contains new cards to add to one of the three faction’s card decks. Of course, with any saved up scrap you may also purchase new cards to help fill out your massive card collection. You also have the ability to create your own customized decks by adding a number of various cards to your unique deck. However, adding as many cards as possible might not always work out best since there may be a few cards you’d rather not draw in tight competitions. Either way, it’s a nice feature to help add a bit of personalization to each of your factions.
There are three different factions in the game each representing different themes and vehicles making up each faction card deck. Desert roadways and raider combat vehicles make up Skullborough, the nighttime city life showcases a slick street racing scene in the Drift City faction and classic muscles battle through a sewer system similar to the L.A. River in the Soul Station faction. Each faction has their own deck of cards with unique wheels of destruction and an array of campaign missions. You’re free to play with whichever faction first and swap whenever the need arises, so it’s nice to have an option to back off a tougher match up in one faction and move onto a another for a confidence boost.
While casually disguised as a tower rush/defense game, Vroom Kaboom is much deeper than that. The derby-like fashion and deck collecting/building strategy bring some much-needed flare to the experience. With three different factions each with tons of chaotic cards to collect, a moderately quick learning curve and fast-paced car physics that put you in the midst of an adrenaline fueled crash course, Vroom Kaboom is a game that may surprise more than a few naysayers of the unique mash-up.
For a quick, yet strategic competition players should find much to enjoy in the battle car tower smashing title. With the option to play in standard or experience the fight in VR, single player campaign or take on the challengers in online multiplayer – Vroom Kaboom is a sweaty-palmed destruction derby game that adds a healthy dose of ingredients to the traditional tower defense formula.
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