For a third-party that aims to take the Nintendo Switch seriously, I feel like it would be an understatement to say Capcom might not have been doing that as well as it should have. Indie developers appear to have picked up on that as well; some games on the eShop are clear and concise as to what they’re inspired by. Mighty Gunvolt Burst picks up the ball Mega Man dropped, and now we have Vaccine stepping in for Resident Evil. Whereas Mighty Gunvolt Burst was a good game, though, Vaccine careens into opposite territory.
Your friend got infected again. Who is this friend? How did he get infected, let alone more than once? None of these questions are answered. This bit of story feels like it was thrown in at the last minute. There is more to it as the protagonist finds notes laying around the house regarding a top-secret project, but I’m not entirely sure how it relates to the zombies lurking around this eerie residence.
You know how I said this game is inspired by Resident Evil? Well, by that I mean the original Resident Evil! Vaccine apes even the primitive Playstation 1-era graphical style from the genuine article. I’m not going to beat it up about it, since nostalgia flows through indie titles like butter flows through popcorn. However, I could do without the fixed camera angles; they are bound to make things disorientating. There’s also an absurd amount of grammar and punctuation issues.
Well, it does have a spooky atmosphere. The objects in the house make the sound effects you’d expect them to make. There’s nothing terribly out of place, although I think some sounds could be added for when the player picks up an item or unlocks a door. Basically, the sound department mostly checks out.
Since I never did play the original Resident Evil, I intentionally approached Vaccine without any point of reference to compare with. In the game, the player has to navigate a house filled with randomly generated layouts to find a vaccine for this so-called friend. Along the way, there are zombies and other creatures that will mercilessly send the player to the Game Over screen if he/she isn’t careful enough. Or if the game just doesn’t care about well-being. Whatever comes first.
The random generation sounds great on paper, but in execution, it’s a mess. The rooms themselves don’t change much and have memorable set pieces, but the enemy and item layouts constantly changing are where things get rocky fast. I hardly ever got the items I needed when I needed them, and whenever I think I’d be ready to take on the world, I’d find at least two rapidly crawling abominations devouring me in an instant! I’d shoot them off if I had a gun, but only if I could ever find ammo for it! In another one of my sessions, vice versa happened.
And then there are the controls. My God, the controls. The protagonist controls like a tank, which makes it very hard to get out of a zombie’s grasp (For multiple zombies, you’re screwed). When the player does make a run for it, there’s a chance the fixed camera angles will change up and briefly steer him/her away from the intended direction. This would give the zombie enough time to latch back on, and therefore increase the frustration. Not to mention there are doors that won’t open, doors that require keys, and doors that would lead you directly into an enemy. All of these annoyances, and you have a thirty-minute time limit to get through the game.
I’m sorry, but Vaccine is such a slog. Every time I think I’d get somewhere, the next room would kick me back to the beginning to ensure I don’t. With the Nintendo Switch being home to plenty of quality titles at this point in time, it’s a shame to see Vaccine fall so short and not utilize the Resident Evil aping for the better. Maybe improve upon where the PS1 hit fell short, perhaps? There is potential to be had with this sort of game, but how Vaccine handles things doesn’t do it justice. If anything, it kind of makes me not want to play Resident Evil.