I feel like I’ve spoken a hundred times about genre mash-ups recently here on Pixelbedlam, usually it’s just a couple of game styles that are brought in together, but Vroom Kaboom smashes together so many the game loses it’s focus from the start. Tower Defence, Car Combat, MOBA and Card Collecting all rolled into one free to play game. If it sounds confusing it’s because it really is.
I’m not going to pretend it’s impossible or even it’ll take you hours to understand Vroom Kaboom but it’s worth noting that the part of the menu that says ‘Tutorial’, funnily enough the first thing I went into, was actually just a really easy match of the normal game, no hints or tips pop up, no introduction to the game concepts, it is literally just a normal game, but super easy. As such everything in this review is based on my understanding of what was going on at any point.
Vroom Kaboom sees you take on one of the role of one of three factions, a Tokyo drift style crew, a Mad Max style crew and a low-rider style crew. Each crew has 15 odd missions for you to tackle set in either a desert, a neo-tokyo highway or that dry river sewage thing that the truck chases the bike down in Terminator 2. The goal is as a solo player, in a duo or in a trio take on an opposing team, to win you must destroy the enemies’ oil tank set up at the end of a long stretch of road with various obstacles in your way. Spending the cards in your deck, bear with me here, you summon vehicles. These vehicles need to collect one of the three types of resource along the road, oil; for spending to summon your vehicles, fire; for spending on special vehicles, cards; for adding to your hand and finally these land mine things that after many hours with this game I still am not entirely sure of their purpose.
Once you’ve got your resources it’s time to send out your cars, the game has the potential at this point to move to car combat. If you take control of one of your vehicles, you can have many out at once to cycle between, you aren’t exactly controlling it, instead you’re giving what feels like a vague suggestion of which of a couple of lanes you want it to drive in and when to use it’s nitro and it’s special ability like Jump or Explode, some are also blessed with machine guns. If you meet an enemy, or your own vehicle from behind, it’s at this point you’ll be greeted with a little explosion and the frustration of having wasted oil on that card. What’s more frustrating is that if you don’t control a vehicle the AI does, you would think this would mean an efficient safe run to the oil rigs to destroy them but really it means that you’ll just keep getting indicators to say all your vehicles are blown up and the AI didn’t bother collecting any resources en route so you’re now stuffed and have to wait 20 seconds for the game to pity you and give you a free scooter that is only useful for resource collection. On the flip side whatever they do must work because in 2 vs 2 games with AI on my team I found I would just randomly win with no idea how we achieved our goals.
You reach a point with Vroom Kaboom where you notice something, this would be a good mobile game or even a really good board game. It’s not often you can say that about a game that is only being released on PC and PS4, but with all it’s chaos and 5- 10 minute games this is ripe for that app store and tabletop market. Making the game touch screen may also actually make the borderline useless UI slightly more useful. The PS4 version features a cursor that you can’t actually move and there’s drop down menu’s that don’t feature anything and it took me an hour to realise that the main menu with it’s three cars on podiums was actually your options for changing which faction you were running with.
Graphically the game is fine, the music is fine, even the potentially awful monetisation and loot box system is fine. There’s nothing particularly offensive about Vroom Kaboom, but there’s also nothing I can scream about from the roof tops. It’s just a game I played for a few days and probably wouldn’t have played as long had it not been for due diligence for this review. It’s worth noting that I tried to get into online multiplayer but couldn’t find a game despite trying over a couple of days and at various times, not sure if I had bad luck with timing of maintenance but if I didn’t then that’s not a great sign. Vroom Kaboom is not bad, it’s also free which works in its favour, it’s unfortunately also a game you’ve forgotten you’ve even played a week later. The PSVR support is good despite it’s insistence on Move Controllers and that will give it some legs in that community but outside of that it’s hard to see who this game is for and whether its going to garner any longevity with its fans.
UPDATE: 22/08/2018 – Just as I was getting this review ready to publish I received contact from Ratloop Games Canada regarding common feedback from fanbase about the tutorial issue. They’ve set up this FAQ and Video series to aide new players. This hasn’t effected my opinion on the game but I wanted to help anyone looking for support with the game by posting this here: