September 03, 2014

Velocity 2X Review

Futurlab releases their sequel to Velocity and Velocity Ultra... Velocity 2X! Read about the action and story in our review for the PS Vita version........

Velocity Ultra came out on the Vita last year (which in itself was a tweaked up version of Velocity) and was an enjoyable top down sci fi space shooter. We rated it pretty high last year, but it had some problems, too. It was great to see Futurlab take those issues and fix them up for a glossy, sharp looking release of Velocity 2X (V2X).

For those of you unfamiliar with Velocity, you are a pilot named Kai and you fly around in a pretty sweet spaceship that can teleport at the swipe of a finger, as well as boost, and fire lasers and bombs. The story for me was a little hard to follow as the game was more focused on the action and subsequent puzzles that arose. 

The story has a bigger focus this time around

I was happy to find out that the story in V2X has a much bigger focus. Between each mission there are beautiful story panels telling the plot of Kai and her adventures through a space portal and her efforts to return back to Earth. 

This time around there are some variances to the gameplay. It is broken down into two main segments: the flight part, and the much touted on foot portion. There are also boss battles, but those aren't very huge. Especially with the difficulty level scaled down a bit in this game. In Velocity Ultra you had a certain number of lives before you had to start the whole shebang over, but in V2X you can just keep picking up where you just perished. I liked this change, it helped with the frustration level, but it also shortens the game a bit. 

Flying is smoother and the graphical upgrade from the first game is a nice change. The game plays FAST and looks sweet. Lens flares, explosions, debris passing by in space... there are a lot of details to make this game pop much more this time around. 

And what about those running segments? They are actually cool. It breaks up the flying sessions to add variety to the game. You run around the innards of buildings and such blasting gems, hitting sequencers, avoiding red death walls, destroying enemies... and levels get more complex with the use of "telepods," devices that allow you to teleport back to an earlier segment in which you dropped the thing. 

Running portions are fun and puzzling!

The map lets you know when to drop them (same in the flight zones), but sometimes you may plan things your own way. You have a limited number, so be careful!

There are bonuses to find to unlock extra zones and features, so it will keep completionists busy for a while. As will the leaderboards! There is a heavy focus on social apps to share info with friends and challenge them while you're at it. 

Speaking of challenges, although the game has only 50 levels (with some additional bonus features), you will find yourself going back through to do better in each section as you may need to earn extra XP to advance. I didn't realize this until about level 46 when it prompted me to go back and do that. It was a little jarring to the storyline in that I couldn't quite continue without more XP and had to replay things. But it made me run back to earlier levels and see how much better I had gotten at things. 

The levels are broken into 3 or 4 point scales: speed, points, gems, and rescues. Got a low score in one area? Go back and get a "gold" to receive more XP. Plus, the trophy hunters will be all over this to perfect a level (all golds in one run). 

The music and sound effects are amazing. Get yourself a nice set of headphones/earbuds to fully appreciate it. 

One other issue I had with the original was the lack of variety in the backgrounds... and V2X fixes that up as well! You'll be heading to different space locales to spice things up. 

Something gets thrown into the game near the end which affects gameplay. I don't want to ruin anything, but it involves a different way to fly around. The fact that it shows up in the last couple of levels feels slapped in there. You don't really get to practice the technique to get to the end and again felt jarring. 

Fast, fun, frenetic action. An improvement on Velocity Ultra in all ways. 

The game is out for the PS4, as well, and looks sharp on the big screen. Cross buy!

What do you think? Are you going to give this a try? Playstation Plus people get this game free this month! Make sure to pick it up. Let us know what you think in the comments!

PS Vita Hub ®