Vostok Inc. is in equal parts a twin-stick shooter and a clicker, which makes it a twin-stick clicker, or a click-stick shooter. Surprisingly enough, it does both aspects of the game really well, resulting in an enjoyable and challenging twin-stick experience bundled with the relaxing rhythm of idle clickers.
As the game’s official description puts it – You’re the newly appointed CEO of Vostok Inc. As a greedy, space-capitalist your ultimate goal is to get filthy, stinking, rich! And that’s basically it. You start off with a ship and venture forth into space. Initially you are shooting down enemies in the usual twin stick fashion, along with asteroids in space. Shooting them down gives you ‘Moolah’, which is the game’s currency. And when shooting things gets you currency, you really get down to shooting pretty much everything you see. Once you collected enough Moolah, you land on a planet, and it’s time for some business development.
This is where the clicker part of the game comes into play. You spend the money you’ve earned to lay down buildings that make you more money. Mines, farms, malls and more – anything and everything that can make money is making you money. The more you earn, the more you build, and pretty soon you’ll be sucked into the simple yet addictive rhythm that is the main draw for idle clickers. However, Vostok Inc. has enough depth in gameplay to make the experience really enjoyable. Soon it’s time to expand further and you’re back to twin-stick shooting your way to another planet.
Once you’ve a few planets under your belt, you can interconnect them and they’ll keep making money for you while you’re trying to figure out how to make even more money. You then spend that money to upgrade buildings and your ship. Upgraded buildings make even more money. And upgraded ship can take down bigger enemies, and take you to places where you can make even more money. It’s always incremental, and wonderfully so. Everything ties in back to each other, and the constant drip-feed of goals and rewards is immensely satisfying.
While most clickers are a mindless affair, Vostok Inc. has meaningful upgrades to make you feel like you’ve made some progress every time you play it. The ship upgrades are fun and make exploration and combat more enjoyable. Bigger weapons allow you to go head to head against more enemies, and abilities like slowing down time give you a bit more leeway while in the middle of a frantic fight. As you’re out exploring in space, you come across Managers who can give you bonuses and upgrades. There are also smaller mini-games to play in between, and the sheer variety here had me hooked for way more hours than I ever expected.
Once you’ve conquered enough planets, you get to fight the boss of the solar system. However, taking him down is not the end. It’s simply the beginning. There are other solar systems out there, each with their bosses and enemies, all waiting to be exploited for Moolah. So venture forth and be prosperous.
Vostok Inc. does an excellent job of bring together two genres in an unconventional manner, but does it so well by tying the mechanics together so intricately that it’s easy to see everything you do feeding into everything else. It’s addictive and enjoyable in way that is unlike any game I’ve played this year. In the end it’s all about the money.