The Banished Vault review

by on July 25, 2023
Reviewed On
Release Date

July 25, 2023


When I first started playing The Banished Vault, I felt lost, as if floating through space just like the Exiles I was in control of. There’s a lot to grasp, with trial and error a constant force in every star system, but I was floored by how good it was, constantly pushing me to make tough decisions. It’s a simple enough concept, but what the game does is present you with various mathematical equations and formulas to solve and apply, resulting in choices that can affect your survival and success.

In The Banished Vault, you are in control of the Auriga Vault, a floating monastery capable of interstellar travel. Your main goal is to create a resource known as Stasis to travel from system to system across wonderfully designed energy maps. In doing so, you must build Scriptoriums on hallowed planets in order to write an entry into a Chronicle which is then sent home, with four needing to be written for your journey to end. It sounds simple enough, but everything needs resources and materials to create, and travelling requires a decent engine and plenty of fuel.

Being a turn-based game, The Banished Vault requires careful planning. You’ll have access to ships than can be provided with various resources from the Vault at the start of your journey in each procedurally generated system. Each ship needs an engine and fuel. To travel to a location, you’ll need to use up fuel across a set amount of turns. When you arrive at a planet or area in space that has a resource you need, you’ll have to use iron to construct outposts that can harvest more resources needed to build more outposts. There’re formulas to follow for everything you’ll need, but thanks to a beautiful hand-drawn manual, you’re given plenty of support.

In order to gather Status, you’ll need water, titanium, and C02. Looking for moons or planets with the icon associated with these resources are vital as once there, you can build stations that can harvest them, but you’ll need iron. Converters can also be built to gather these materials, but you might need alloy. There’s a lot to manage, and a wrong decision when it comes to gathering might result in you having to restart all over again. After the two short introductory levels, I was overwhelmed by the amount of places to explore, but I soon learned there are multiple ways to do what needs to be done.

Sometimes, you might not need to send out all of your ships to gather Statis or build a Scriptorium. However, fuel isn’t an infinite resource, and if you run out and don’t have the necessary materials to craft more, your Exiles will be stranded. These Exiles are represented as cards that can be attached to a ship, and when docked, they can then be attached to an outpost in order to harvest or construct. Each has a number of action points, which will be refilled after each turn.

In one of my missions, I’d gathered tons of resources by returning back and forth to a nearby planet, while my main ship with more space headed south to build a scriptorium to write a passage into the Chronicle. I’d gathered enough stasis back at the vault, but the ship I’d sent to the hallowed planet had no fuel to return home. I could have left them there, but it would mean less exiles and resources for the next system. What felt like a straightforward mission became a rescue operation, and once I’d finally saved them and sent them back to the vault for the ritual hibernation, it dawned on me just how deep and satisfying The Banished Vault really is.

The intricacies of its mathematics is staggering and will confuse people who go in expected a more simplified experience. You have to account for hazards that occur when out in the solar systems and their difficulties, the mass of your ship and fuel consumption, how actions differ depending on whether you’re close to the sun or not, and so much more. Then there’s remembering what each resource does, how important it is to have faith, upgrading and improving ships with artefacts that can be found, and remembering to stockpile certain resources when going from system to system.

Yet, despite how much is involved in The Banished Vault, it’s incredibly addictive. I couldn’t stop playing, and even though there’s a detailed manual, I had various notes written down in a notebook with plans for how to approach each system and what I wanted to gather and achieve from each one. The art design is sublime, from the drawings to the detail in the energy maps of each system, and the level of strategy is going to satisfy the nerdiest of gamers. Whilst there’s a lot to get your head around, the key concepts are clear. It just requires patience and a clear mind if you’re to get the most out of your journey through the cosmos.


Beautiful visuals
Wonderfully crafted strategy
Lots of ways to approach systems
Fun risk and reward loop


A lot to learn
Difficult to start with
Lack of careful planning results in frequent failure

Editor Rating
Our Score


In Short

The Banished Vault is an intricately designed strategy with plenty of layers, however, there's a truly satisfying gameplay loop at its core.