is Dungeon Crawler
game, developed for PC
and released on Steam
in 2017 by Fat Bot Games. Unlike most examples of the genre, it is set in the Steampunk
world, on the small island in the ocean where your protagonist winds up after their ship gets wrecked, and their memory is lost. They head to the only thing of note on the island - the enormous metal tower that is the Arx Vaporum research facility. It was once a crucial top-secret object, but now it's abandoned and most of the inhabitants are hostile bots, and it's up to you to solve the mystery about this facility, and why it suddenly feels so familiar.
Tropes present in Vaporum:
- Amnesiac Hero: The game begins with the protagonist waking up on an island next to the massive tower the game takes place in, with no memory of anything before that point. He starts regaining it pretty quickly though.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Marcus Rike, the man in charge of the tower, is also a war veteran. He's also the player character, and he still knows how to handle himself in a fight.
- Bad Boss: Lora Rike devolves into one of these as the fumium starts to take its toll.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: Mutated roaches are a common enemy. They come in a few variations, ranging from cat-sized to cow-sized.
- Blackout Basement: One of the levels is pitch-black, and you lack in light sources.
- Bottomless Pit: Nearly every single pit in the game is either this or Spikes of Doom. Both are instant-kills either way.
- Call A Hitpoint A Smeerp: Health is called Integrity here, since it's the exosuit that matters, and not the squishy body inside it. There are no health potions or first aid kits either - only the repair kits. Additionally, experience points are Fumium, the Green Rocks extracted in the tower, and skill points are Circuit points.
- Creepy Child: The diaries suggest that Marcus and Lora's daughter Sophie is pretty off. Marcus suspects that spending her entire life in the Arx Vaporum isn't doing wonders for her social skills. The ending suggests she may be an outright Enfant Terrible, thanks to the fumium's influence on her in utero.
- Critical Status Buff:
- The Assault rig gives a bonus to damage proportional to the player's missing health.
- The Safeguard Module grants the player a huge boost to their elemental resistances when they drop below 35% integrity.
- Drop the Hammer: There are two-handed warhammers, which are much more effective on the mechanical enemies than on the organic ones.
- Dual Wielding: Melee weapons of a similar type can be wielded together, if you choose to forgo the protection offered by the shield.
- Evil vs. Evil: Implied in the ending, which shows that Sophie may not be any better than Lora.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Arx Vaporum's scientists just couldn't forgo the chance to observe how fumium affects various living beings. While they learned their lesson a long time ago, you are still forced to deal with the consequences.
- Faceless Goons: All of the human enemies wear helmets that completely cover their faces.
- Family Versus Career: Discussed by Lora in one of her early audio logs, where she claims that one thing she's excited about with working in the Arx Vaporum with Marcus is that she can blend family and work life together. Her losing interest in her family is one of the first signs that things are going downhill.
- Fighter, Mage, Thief: At the start, you choose between a defence-oriented Heavy rig, a specialist Thauma one geared towards the fumium powers, and a damage-dealing combat rig. A later update added a fourth option that has more situational functions rather than direct parameter boosts.
- Golem: Some of the most powerful mechanical enemies in the game are essentially this.
- Green Rocks: Fumium, the treasured resource extracted in Arx Vaporum. Amongst other things, it acts as an equivalent to the conventional experience points, allowing further upgrades to the exosuit once enough units of it have been collected.
- Guns Akimbo: Ranged weapons can be wielded in both arms, provided they are similar to each other.
- Hollywood Acid: One of the damage types is acid. It glows bright green and creatures covered in it are unable to heal or repair themselves.
- It Has Been an Honor: After all of their arguments and differences, James' final diary is a respectful farewell to Lucy as he prepares to lead his revolt against Lora.
- Life Drain:
- The Drain gadget, which deals damage to an enemy directly in front of the player and returns a portion of that damage back to the player as health.
- The Redirector module in the Fusion Conversion skill makes it so you regain a small percentage of your integrity every time you kill an enemy.
- Level-Up Fill-Up: A treasured way to heal, given how scarce the means to do so are.
- Luckily, My Shield Will Protect Me: You can block attacks with a shield, and there's a separate skill governing how successful you are at it.
- Mecha-Mooks: Many of the enemies are these, to the point the weapons are sub-divided into those for the traditional organic foes, and those better suited for the mechanical ones.
- Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: James Kroll eventually leads a revolt against Lora once she completely loses it. Downplayed in that the "mistreatment" he experienced was pretty benign in comparison to some of the other stuff going on.
- Monster Closet: It might be easier to list the number of times the player presses a button or picks up an important item and it doesn't cause at least one of these to open.
- Mook Maker: The Illusionist Thaumaturge conjures duplicates of common enemies.
- No-Gear Level: Unlike most examples, which happen as a result of the player getting captured, here they are forced to navigate an area so radioactive, there's no way to get through safely inside an exosuit. You'll have to don a specialized suit instead, but doing so deprives you of all the cool weapons and powers, forcing you to sneak by monsters or lure them into the traps.
- Odd Friendship: James Kroll and Lucy Payge develop one in the backstory. James is a young, idealistic yes man, while Lucy is an older, bitter complainer.
- Over Penetration: Some firearms can go through the entire row of enemies.
- Papa Wolf: After the protagonist regains his memory, he is determined to find his daughter, and will kill or destroy anything he must to protect her.
- Pixel Hunt: Not to progress the story, thankfully, but the secrets are often opened by pressing tiny buttons that have nothing indicating they're there, sometimes in areas with environmental hazards that prevent you from getting a good look.
- Playing with Fire: One of the elemental powers available.
- Powered Armor: The Exoskeleton. You choose one of four types at the start, where it essentially acts as your character class.
- Right for the Wrong Reasons: Lucy Payge, the first scientist to be openly critical of Lora. Most of her concerns are spot on, but she's also just an uncooperative whiner in general, so nobody really pays her any mind.
- Shock and Awe: One of the powers you may use, thanks to fumium. Of course, many of the mechanical enemies will also let sparks loose at you at the first opportunity.
- Short-Range Shotgun: Since the game is already a cramped dungeon crawler, even a typical game shotgun range would have been equivalent to the other firearms. Thus, it's even shorter here.
- Shotguns Are Just Better: Still, shotguns do have a hefty chance to stun the enemy to compensate for their range limitations.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Backstory character James Kroll thinks of himself pretty highly, but nobody else seems to take him very seriously. Even the amnesiac protagonist is less than impressed with James' audio diaries.
- Spikes of Doom: Nearly every single pit in the game is either a spike trap or a Bottomless Pit. Both are instant-kills either way.
- Stat Stick: Runkralf's crowbar, a crowbar that grants the player a bonus 10% to their tech stat when equipped. It's generally a good idea for a gadget-focused playthrough to keep it in the primary weapon slot and switch to a backup weapon when you actually need to hit things.
- Story Breadcrumbs: Most of the story, the world's background and such is conveyed by the notes and the audiologs you find and save inside the rig's interface.
- Super Spit: Acid-spitting mutant roaches are a fairly common enemy.
- Telepathy: Later audio diaries make it clear that Sophie and Lora Rike can communicate with each other and are always aware of the other's emotions. Not long after that, the Big Bad demonstrates this ability with the protagonist as well.
- Video Game Flamethrowers Suck: The flamethrowers used by some of the human guards are so short-ranged they are practically melee weapons. The Blowtorch gadget available to the player averts this though, having decent range and damage on-par with the other gadgets.
- White Dwarf Scientist: James describes Lucy this way at one point, writing off her worries because she's burning out and jealous of the younger crowd that's coming to replace her.