VELONE Gameplay Preview

Developed by ZAR21, published by Daedalic Entertainment – April 21, 2022 (PC)
*MSRP: $16.99 – https://store.steampowered.com/app/1811750/VELONE/

VELONE is a production line puzzle game where you manipulate and move around marbles into the desired formation of shape and colors. The game itself is pretty fun once you understand how things work but the tutorial does not do the game justice as of when I last played it. I can imagine the tutorial confusing and frustrating a lot of players if they have never played a game like this before.

As to why the tutorial does not do the game justice, I had two main issues with it. For starters, the game is still very buggy to the point where you may be hard stuck and unable to progress, forcing you to restart the level. I will give one example. In order to delete components on the board, you need to pick them up and drag them off the screen. Now it is entirely possible for you to pickup and drag an arm up to the top of the screen and mistakenly place it under the white translucent bar that pops up during the tutorial instead of deleting it. Guess what, you can no longer interact with that arm.

This hard stops progress because the tutorial is not flexible enough to accept free form placement and since you didn’t place the correct arm in the exact location, it will not progress even if you create a new arm. Your only recourse is to restart the tutorial level. Now, it’s entirely possible that the problem is already fixed in a future update but man did this cause a lot of frustration.

The last part of the tutorial is way too difficult of a problem to solve with no guidance for a new player.

This leads into my second problem with the tutorial. It holds your hand way too much in the beginning and then for the fifth tutorial, has you solve a pretty complex problem with no input or guidance at all. The tutorial problem is harder than the first actual problem in the game. This is quite nonsensical. To go from hand holdy to no guidance, the player is sure to feel lost and directionless if this is their first encounter with this type of game.

As a funny aside, the tutorial did not mention how to move the timeline for commands for the arms. It’s the right mouse button. This is a vital piece of information and the game failed to mention it! Now I know I started off the preview with two complaints but that’s only because I genuinely like the game.

The first puzzle is pretty simple and eases you into the game much better than the tutorial.

I am a huge fan of production line design and this game features neat, little isolated design puzzles. Once you get an understanding of how things work, each level is a pure design problem. There are really no artificial constraints limiting how you design (other than the physical size of the board) and no metrics to meet. Your only goal is to design a production line that produces one sample of the product desired.

This is me experimenting with builds. The game offers a lot of freedom and there’s no pressure.

The game focuses purely on design and I appreciate that. There are no efficiency quotas to meet, no budget limiting your build, and no timer counting down. You can design as messy of a production line as you want as long as it works.

The game has a simple recipe tree to change the marble into a desired color and pattern.

The game itself is pretty simple once you get into it. You place arms that can extend, rotate, and grab or drop the marbles. The marbles can change design and color by being dropped onto specific platforms in a specific order. To program the arms, each arm is labeled with a number and you can input commands for each arm in the bottom time line.

Look at the command timeline shown above, I had to do some trickery to get the arms to not collide with other marbles.

It does get a bit more tricky to design if you want a compact layout as the arms will stop if they collide with other marbles. You can get around this by using rails to move the arms up and down or by doing a tricky dance extending and contracting the arms while rotating to avoid obstacles.

The game has some voice acted narrative bits but it didn’t really add to the game for me, I’m just here for the puzzles.

Overall, VELONE is actually a pretty fun puzzle game with a tutorial that doesn’t do the game justice. It’s a very simple game that focuses purely on design and as a fan of production line design myself, it did manage to scratch that itch. I do wish it had some quality of life improvements such as being able to pick up multiple parts of your build and moving them together at the same time but a little bit of jank can be tolerated.

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