Color the walls, escape the police and learn about the beauty of street art.
Vandals was a game I originally didn't hear much about. While I got asked to check it out for Nintendo Switch, I had to scratch my head a little. After looking at video of it though, one thing looked clear to me: it looks a lot like Square Enix's GO series. That is, in all honesty, a positive thing. There was a period of time where I played all of them back to back, so I was totally stoked for more puzzlers like it. Turn-based puzzlers usually know how to keep me engaged. After playing it, I'm even more pumped for what Vandals is bringing to the table.
To get straight to the point, Vandals is the first game of this type in a while that dares to be different. While the basic structure of hopping from space to space remains in play, there are many elements at play here. You are a graffiti artist, trying to bring life to the streets. This isn't without danger or risks to your life. Cops are standing at every corner of the street, eyeing to get you into custody. The levels will see you grabbing the spray can and using throwing items to distract the police so that you can get to the goal.
The cops are usually fixed in place. That is until you throw an item or used the can. It is where the strategy of Vandals really comes into its own. You constantly have to move back and forth to stay out of sight. With simple movements on the control sticks, you will eventually get the job done. In the levels showcased to me, there are chances to hide in the bushes or dive into the sewers. All of this is needed to get yourself out of there safely.
Next to the strategic elements of the game, Vandals tries to throw another in the mix. You will be able to create your own patterns and throw them on walls in the game. Once you are zoomed it, your creation remains on the surface of the stage. Next to this, it will also go in collection menu where you can look at your best work. I can see myself toying around with this, take a picture with the capture button and throwing on social media. Naturally it only goes so far, but there are various tools in play. You can just use text as a tag you want to see in the title. On a side note, the developer showcased an experimental feature that uses the IR Motion Camera for patterns as well. It is unsure if the functionality will make it into the final product.
The various locations you visit across various chapters serve a purpose as well. Arte, a company known for documentaries in the European market, is actually funding this project. They have started a foray in video games with this being their first ever Nintendo release. The educational side of things will tell about the various locations as well as famous street art. It is fun to learn without being intrusive in any way. All I can say is that I'm absolutely down for more projects like this.
All in all, Vandals seems like a very enjoyable game. While it uses some elements of Square Enix's GO games, it does so without being a blatant copy. They added new things where they could, and left them be where the foundation is sound. The twist of creating and putting in your own art pieces is a very cool touch, which I will absolutely share on social media. Vandals is releasing in early 2019.