There are plenty of times where something looks to be full of complex decisions and unlimited options. Sometimes you dive into something prepared for Rubix cube levels of intricacy only to find that it is more akin to playing with a stress ball instead. Vroom Kaboom is very much the latter, bolting so many car parts into its Frankenstein’s monster truck of a game, but doing so in a way that puts it at odds with the genres it mashes together.
Vroom Kaboom combines deck building, tower defence, MOBAs, and vehicles that are driven by ghosts. It’s either that or the vehicles are sentient like in Cars, in which case the whole game has actually a horror game as well and is a completely different experience to the one written about here. The aim is simple enough: the opponent has some structures and you want to destroy them. You accomplish this by firing at them, then driving your vehicles into them to deliver the final blow for that particular mode of transportation. Then you send more and continue the slow process of whittling down the health bar until one team or the other dies.
On the way there you can intercept the units coming towards you and try and take them out. Some vehicles have guns to fire, some have self destructs, and some can just ram the others off the road. There are two main lanes that you can fight down as well as a couple of little side paths that usually lead to extra resources or damage boosts. You see each vehicle needs a certain amount of the different currencies to send out, and you can recycle the different cards to get a quick fix, or send out scooters to suck up the good stuff and fuel your fire.
There are even three different factions for you to choose from, each of which has their own campaign for you to run through with a steadily increasing challenge and vehicles to unlock along the way. The better vehicles might fly or go faster, but all of them have the same basic desire to crash into and destroy your opponents. The premise is simple enough, and unfortunately the gameplay is as well. While there are plenty of little choices to make during each match, ultimately each one feels inconsequential and more often than not lacks any impact.
Once you’ve built a deck, chosen which cards to deploy, chosen a path to take, and then finally landed a blow, you really want to feel like your decisions mattered. In Vroom Kaboom that feeling never materialises, instead it focuses on trying to distract you with bombastic ideas which are never as interesting as they appear to be. Each match plays out in the same way and each faction feels the same outside of minor visual differences. Everything just feels a bit pointless.
It isn’t just the gameplay that feels lacking, the graphics are rather basic as well and each environment has the bare minimum of detail and design. The vehicles judder along instead of riding and all of them are as unresponsive as a garden gnome. Sending off each unit on its own and relying on the AI to do the best thing rarely works out because you can’t specify that you want materials instead of damage. Each thing you aren’t in direct control of is sent to its own incredibly pointless destruction and the best you can hope for is that they crash into something coming from the other side.
There are two versions of this game, one is free, the other is the premium version which basically unlocks extra stuff early for you. The actual difference between the two versions is negligible, which to be fair makes a nice change. Feeling like a game is pay-to-win is horrible, so that not being the case here is a positive of the model they are using. However, as a result of this, if you shell out money for it you are going to be left feeling like you’ve been misled.
Vroom Kaboom has a great core concept, but doesn’t do anywhere near enough with it. If you want to see what this game is all about then get the free version and think of it like a demo. Just keep in mind that the chances are you are going to find the experience as flimsy as a Vespa in the face of Tank.
Version tested: PC – Also available for PS4, PSVR, HTC Vive & Oculus Rift