Vasilis is a black and white, 2D hand drawn, side scrolling game based on past Ukrainian political events of 2014. A simple yet new idea from the minds of developers Marginal Act. Creative. Different, but unfortunately that is it. Vasilis can be summed up in a matter of sentences but ill try an elaborate a little more.
You play the role of an elderly lady on a hunt for her husband slowly trudging through the streets of a forgotten city. People rioting, yelling and burning down the local Ukrainian government. As you venture forth you visit many places through out the town; the local bar, morgue, town library and factories all play a role and have a story to tell. Finding your husband might be harder then you think. Moving forward things start to become unusual as you seem to lose your sanity. Suddenly you’re less worried about your husband and start collecting body parts for local cults and factions.
You have a map which takes a lot of time to get used to. At first it doesn’t seem to make much sense and you can get lost quite easily. You also have a simple inventory system; you can find tea cups to sell and can also find some money to help you out. You will meet NPC’s that help you out or offer you keys in exchange for some hard earned currency.
Controls are very simple with up, down, left, right and A to interact. I found the controls also to be very slow to respond at times – I could be walking one way then stop and the character on screen keeps walking. The game is certainly original though, I have to say; the hand drawn art can be rather eye catching, even with a mostly black and white palette. With the entire game looking like something out of a Sunday magazine comic strip, you can bet you’re not going to get a great reception from modern, more discerning players might scoff at the style, but somewhere there is a nice little following of these rather odd, yet art enriched, side-scrolling titles.
Vasilis isn’t going to revolutionize gaming, but as an art form you can’t knock the creative style Marginal Act were aiming towards. Unfortunately slow and confusing, this is a title for the players that don’t mind a bit of experimentation in their play experiences.