The South Korean game development studio, ALIVE Game Studios, officially announces the launch of the Kickstarter campaign for Vapor World: Over The Mind, a thrilling and enchanting 2D hand-drawn dark fantasy action-adventure platformer inspired by the iconic blockbusters of the Souls-Like genre.
Today, November 28, 2023, a remarkably captivating project is set to debut on Kickstarter, already generating significant buzz among enthusiasts of the Souls-Like genre. We’re referring to Vapor World: Over The Mind, a charming 2D hand-drawn dark action-adventure platformer developed by ALIVE Game Studios, a talented South Korean software house located in Yongin-si, a city situated within the Seoul Capital Area (for those unacquainted, Seoul is the cultural and economic epicenter of South Korea)
We know very little about ALIVE Game Studios team, aside from a few small details gleaned directly from their production, the attitude they have demonstrated, and the excellent qualities showcased in the development of their project. One distinctive feature among many is their remarkably mature and clear vision, defining their identity.This is encapsulated in the following motto found in their team description on Kickstarter: “A deep impression that touches a heart remains in the memory. We create a work that can be alive deep inside people for a long time.”
What we can notice is that the team adopts an approach in line with its production—mysterious, enigmatic—preferring to communicate its ideas and vision through their project rather than expressing them in words. Vapor World becomes an authentic medium through which players can grasp the identity of the team. Its major strengths reside in the narrative component, animation, artistic direction, and, not least, game and combat design.
Set in the depths of the human mind, in this dark fictional realm known as Vapor World, a “dream” machine empowered humans to venture into a realm of dreams, woven from the fabric of their thoughts. But no one could fathom the sinister shadow that the greatest invention would cast. And so, the dream turned into a nightmare. In Vapor World: Over The Mind, we step into the shoes of a mysterious boy with amnesia, trapped in this sort of dark mental stagnation. It’s a world where your dreams, now turned into bloodthirsty nightmares, consume the fragments of your lost mind.
As we’ve hinted, the narrative component stands as a pivotal element in ALIVE’s work, manifesting in the game as a penetrating oblivion. This eerie, symbolic, and atmospheric abyss nearly echoes the nuances of psychological horror, delving into the distortion of the psyche and the traumatic effects produced by the human mind.
Distinguished by exquisite hand-painted animation and a dark fantasy Victorian artistic direction, unmistakably reminiscent of the atmospheres found in Bloodborne and other beloved SoulsBorne games from FromSoftware,, the art “dangerously” treads between the sublime, the beautiful, the grotesque, and the macabre, drawing substantial inspiration from revered art masters, including Zdzisław Beksiński and Salvador Dalí. Just as in their artworks, in Vapor World, art is infused with a unique taste and a distinctive stylistic rendition, playing extensively with contrast and aiming to make a lasting impression on the eyes of observers.
In Vapor World, horror and a penchant for the macabre materialize in the form of unsettling abominations with monstrous features, commonly known as Traumas—our nightmares, our enemies. As revealed by the developers, the Seed of Traumas reigns supreme in this “dreamlike” realm, and it becomes imperative to extract it to “awaken.” Extract it from whom? From the bosses that dominate specific areas, which, as we understand, are a kind of Guardians of the Seed. Overcoming them won’t be easy, especially because, every time we encounter the boss enemy, the Seed, they will attempt to repel us to safeguard the fruit of this nightmarish world.
Speaking of gameplay, Vapor World: Over The Mind has been crafted following the Action RPG formula in the Souls-Like style, a format we have grown accustomed to within the genre. This applies not only to the game progression but also to the development of gameplay and the combat system. The main distinction we can observe from FromSoftware’s productions is the 2D aesthetic, departing from the standard 3D approach, with a sense of space that the developers have implemented using a dynamic perspective.
The game features a prominently solid platforming component and a stealth system derived from the experience of Action RPGs. This allows us to conceal ourselves in the shadows and eliminate enemies from behind or surprise them with stealthy attacks from ledges. The combat system goes beyond simple attacks or evasions, drawing inspiration from both Bloodborne and Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice. It is precisely from these two works of FromSoftware, particularly from Sekiro, that Vapor World inherits and involves critical gameplay mechanics such as deflect and parry. By deflecting and relentlessly striking enemies, players will gain the ability to easily break the enemy’s guard, unlocking the full potential of their attacks and knocking them out.
Last, but certainly not least, is what the folks at ALIVE Game Studios refer to as the “expansion of the mind,” employing a complex skill system called “Projections.” In some ways, this reminded us of the functioning of the Legion Arms in Lies of P. These Projections, as revealed by the developers, can be used in combinations to parry or blind enemies, introducing innovative approaches and novel ways to facing the Traumas.
Before we conclude, let us remind you of two important things. The first is that there is still no official release date for Vapor World: Over The Mind. However, a release window has been set for Q4 2024. The game will initially be available for PC, Xbox Series X/S, and on Xbox Game Pass. Additionally, since there is no exclusivity agreement between Microsoft and ALIVE, the developers are also planning to port the game to PlayStation consoles and the Nintendo Switch in the future.
The second, which might be of particular interest to PC gamers, is that a demo of Vapor World: Over The Mind is available on Steam. This demo has already received various updates and improvements from the development team based on player feedback.
We also recommend checking out the Kickstarter campaign, which includes various interesting rewards, including a limited “The Contemplate from Lost Memories” figure, exclusively available on Kickstarter. The campaign is live now, and you can access it through this link.
In the coming days, we will take a closer look at the crowdfunding campaign and provide more detailed insights. Meanwhile, continue to follow us, and, of course, visit Vapor World’s X account or join the Discord server to stay updated on all the upcoming news.
Well, thank you for being with us today. Talk to you soon!