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Vacuum Pilot Review

Official Score

Overall - 70%


While it might not appeal to everyone, Vacuum Pilot gives speed freaks their new addiction. The mouse-based control scheme and momentum mechanics take some getting used to, but there is most certainly genius in its simplicity.

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VacuumDev and Jackerino have the need for speed with their title Vacuum Pilot, a 2D speedrunning title with acceleration and mouse movement. Momentum and fast hijinks are the name of the game – should players start the clock, or does it fall flat on the offset?

Vacuum Pilot Review

In this title, the fate of a little triangular spaceship is in the player’s capable hands. There’s just one problem; this ship is a fragile one, exploding at the slightest touch of any and all walls.

To make it to each of the goals, players must carefully navigate each enclosed area, and do so as fast as humanly possible. Not only is this a delicate matter, but it is also a rushed one as well.

However, the mouse controls Vacuum Pilot provides could very well mean the difference between life and death. It’s a start and stop affair with a lot of clicking, and while the momentum wasn’t quite what we’re used to, we do appreciate the flexibility that it provided.

There is absolutely, positively a learning curve at play here; this is a counterintuitive system that doesn’t quite work the way one thinks it will. However, once one gets used to the speed of one’s craft and figures out how it works, they’ll be zooming through levels at the speed of sound.

Or at least they think they will; Vacuum Pilot features a number of obstacles guaranteed to put a wrench into any run. There’s multiple checkpoints to be had, sure; but there’s also magnetic fields and areas that will disable your ship’s controls until you reach a point that will restore them. There’s just enough complexity to put players’ on edge, but what is here is most welcome.

It’s just a shame that this package is a little on the skint side. As of this writing there are two Seasons, a Special with Halloween-related content, and a Workshop. Each level clocks in at around one minute on the slow side (we’ll fess up to it), meaning that we were able to finish everything sooner rather than later. Each level has different rankings that one can earn, and levels are divided into easy, medium, hard, and insane difficulty settings, but most will see the brunt of content before too long. There is also the chance for one to make their own levels through a grid-based format, but there is not too much variety between the different options provided.

However, Vacuum Pilot does an admirable attempt at keeping players coming back. An experience system through play can unlock Arcade and Competitive Modes, and there is also the chance to customize one’s cockpit, thrusters, and decals. There’s also the chance to buy five customization items from $1.99 to $3.49, but these can be safely ignored.

While it might not appeal to everyone, Vacuum Pilot gives speed freaks their new addiction. The mouse-based control scheme and momentum mechanics take some getting used to, but there is most certainly genius in its simplicity.

This review of Vacuum Pilot was done on the PC. The game was freely downloaded.
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Casey Scheld

Casey Scheld has more than 15 years of experience in the gaming industry as a community manager, social media director, event specialist, and (of course) gaming editor. He has previously worked with gaming start-ups like Raptr, publishers like Konami, and roller derby girls at PAX West (check out Jam City Rollergirls)! Gamers Heroes is a passion project for him, giving him a chance to tap into the underground side of gaming. He is all too eager to give these lesser-known heroes of the indie space the attention they so rightly deserve, seeking out the next gem and sharing it with the world. Previously making appearances at events like CES, GDC, and (the late) E3, he is all too happy to seek out the next big thing. For those that want to talk shop, send over a tip, or get an easy win in a fighting game of their choosing, be sure to check out his social media channels below.

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