The Vagrant (PC) Review

By Athanasios 09.05.2021 2

Review for The Vagrant on PC

SakuraGame is a publisher specialised in (Japanese?) indie games that usually have a pretty small price-tag, and mainly try to sell through the use of anime aesthetics or ecchi-ness. This makes The Vagrant - a game were the protagonist is a busty, Amazon-like warrior - look like one more generic entry into SakuraGame's catalogue. Thankfully, not only that isn't the case, but this doesn't even have the typical anime look, as its art style is inspired by the beautiful vistas (and bosoms, don't forget the bosoms) of Vanillaware of Odin's Sphere and Dragon's Crown fame. So, yeah, this isn't "just another" anime game, but something better. How much better, however? Is it nothing more than just a budget Vanillaware title?

Vivian is a vagrant. A sellsword that goes from place to place, providing her services to those who need them, in exchange for some coin. Slowly but steadily, however, players get to know her better, and realize that there is more here than just a pretty blonde that is skilled in warfare. This young woman is searching for the whereabouts of her father, who left his family for his own reasons, with the mysterious research of him possibly being the catalyst for his departure. Her quest will slowly lead to the unveiling of a dark truth about her bloodline, the curse that controls its fate, and the evil behind it.

Without spoiling anything else, this is a very good fantasy tale that slowly feeds you with more info about the protagonist and the world's lore, unveiling the plot step by step. Surprisingly, the story managed to be one of the key ingredients of the experience, even if the writing isn't always up to par, or some of its potential has been wasted (plenty of character arcs that aren't explored), or how at times this feels as if it doesn't really go anywhere, and just stretches the length of the adventure. Truth be told, however, charming as the plot, might be, this is all about the hacking and the slashing.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

The adventure mainly has the heroine going from A to B, killing whatever tries to block her way, with a boss fight or two throw in at each of the few chapters available. There's a light element of exploration at hand, but that's mostly an illusion. Despite the existence of a few alternative paths, this isn't as… metroidvania as it thinks it is. In other words, apart from a treasure chest here, and… err, another chest there, this is very linear, with the little exploration that will be done providing some additional resources, as well as "keys" to unlock more abilities. As mentioned before, this is all about the hacking and slashing.

So, the main question is this: is this whole hacking and slashing fun? Thankfully, yes, it is. Your sword swings have the necessary "weight," yet combat remains a fast rather than slow and clunky affair. The problem is that it's somewhat repetitive, with the main reason being that the mechanics don't evolve that much. Vivian can learn a few combo tricks, use her amassed XP to increase her stats through a big skill tree full of passive boosts, and upgrade her equipment with property-increasing runes, but generally the whole thing won't really feel that much different whatever you do.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

It doesn't help that this is generally pretty easy, with the low difficulty never really forcing you to use your tools. In fact, the only "challenge" here is mustering the patience to keep on fighting some very bullet-spongy enemies and bosses. Generally this lacks variety, and, as a result, replay value. It is fun and all, but with few things to do in the eight or so hours this will take most people to complete. The Vagrant can also be quite annoying at times, with plenty of moments where enemy hits or the overly abundant traps stun-lock the heroine.

It's annoying because this is generally a fast-paced experience, where you run around without much fear, only to be thrown into the ground from the 10th fire trap in row, or from the fact that enemies attack you the moment they appear on screen. It's important to note that you'll never feel that threatened from all those - just irritated from how often you power fantasy gets broken.

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

In the end, though, it's hard to be… well, hard toward this diamond in the rough. This is by no means mediocre, indie shovelware, only a bit disappointing in the sense that it doesn't ever become the great game it feels it could be with a little more care, a bigger team, or a bigger budget. The one part where this is almost perfect? The visuals. With Vanillaware being its clear-as-day inspiration, it would be a crime not to talk about the graphics on offer…

The Vagrant uses its varied, and vibrant colour palette, to paint a typical, yet at the same time beautiful fantasy world, with a striking oil painting-like look, and with the somewhat exaggerated proportions giving this a weird, dreamy vibe, if that makes any sense. Speaking of exaggerated proportions, and as expected from something that takes its cue from George Kamitani's work, the trees, mountains, and characters aren't the only things that are large here. Almost every single female NPC here sports a set of breasts that's almost comically large… and yeah, in case you haven't figure out that yet, that's not a flaw.

Prunes…

Screenshot for The Vagrant on PC

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

The Vagrant is by no means a perfect 2D hack 'n' slashing action-adventure/RPG-lite. There are far better alternatives out there - alternatives that are much more challenging than this walk in the park, by the way. It's still a very solid game, however. One that, while repetitive, and definitely not brimming with content, still manages to remain enjoyable for the eight hours it will last, with a pretty interesting plot keeping you company, even if the writing, pacing, and presentation is rough around the edges. In the end, The Vagrant's biggest strength is that it's a Vanillaware-esque game on a budget, so fans of Kamitani's work should play this super-cheap indie right away.

Developer

O.T.K Games

Publisher

SakuraGame

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Id had my eye on this for a while.  So the enemies take too much damage?

Plenty of them yes. Bosses are especially bullet-spongy but far from hard.

Can't a fella drink in peace?
                                -Farnham

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