Overall - 30%
Vitamin Girl might wear its inspiration on its sleeve, but it just can't hold a candle to Pepsiman. Those looking for an endless runner can choose from a feast of other options that would be a better use of your time.
Before Temple Run revolutionized the world of endless runners, the import only (and crazy obscure) Pepsiman was the de facto standard of the genre. After 18 years, Andore’s spiritual successor hopes to bring back the refreshing flavor of Pepsi’s cult classic. Unfortunately, this is one game that is way past its prime.
Vitamin Girl Review
Despite the game being primarily action-oriented, there is a plot to be found in Vitamin Girl. After the hero Sespiman (subtle) succumbs to the evil Kokoman and Kokogirl, a mild-mannered girl who is immune to the enemy’s cola’s powers dons a bracelet and becomes Vitamin Girl. It’s a very simple tale, told through amateur comic-book style panels. The inspiration might be obvious and cliche, but it is still nice to have.
So what powers does Vitamin Girl have? She can run really slowly. Though the general gameplay is the same as Pepsiman, our hero runs at a snail’s pace. The main game mode (dubbed “Vitamin C mode”) has her constantly running forward on a linear path, trying to avoid cars, pedestrians, bottomless pits, and knee-high barriers. The thing is, the physics of this game completely shot. A simple jump has Vitamin Girl hanging in the air for a set period of time, and then crashing down to the ground at a moment’s notice. Players can slow down and “brake,” but this too feels awkward. There is also a boost mode that can be used to extend your jump, but it has her run for a brief period of time, and is not intuitive. There is also a slide maneuver, but this too is hard to judge. Set parts of the level also require you to turn to the left or the right, but inputs are not always read. Put simply, it can get very frustrating. Paired with the lack of polish with the aesthetics and menus (there are even typos), and it feels like this one was rushed out the door.
This also extends to the hit detection. It is way too easy to clip the sidewalk or an invisible hitbox, forcing you to lose a life and start all over. Factor in the rating system, and the “rage quit” button that you see after a game over makes perfect sense.
There are a number of other different playstyles throughout Vitamin Girl. “Vitamin E mode” has Vitamin Girl slaloming down a hill on a snowboard and nailing jumps on ramps, while players can freely roam areas with “Vitamin D mode.” These aren’t too polished either, with Vitamin D mode in particular retaining the same clunky controls with even less momentum. Near the end of the game, players can also experience “Vitamin A mode,” which has players riding a motorcycle along a linear path. This feels like the worst of both worlds, and doesn’t really gel.
The average playthrough (one rife with lost lives) will take around 90 minutes. There is a “Nightmare” difficulty mode that can be unlocked, but there are only some unlockable images to keep players running. Even something like a leaderboard would have gone a long way.
Vitamin Girl might wear its inspiration on its sleeve, but it just can’t hold a candle to Pepsiman. Those looking for an endless runner can choose from a feast of other options that would be a better use of your time.