Velocity 2X Vita

9 Overall Score
Graphics: 9/10
Sound: 10/10
Gameplay: 8/10

Fun frantic gameplay | Amazing run-n-gun platforming sections | Perfect sequel

Some levels can feel a little long | Getting perfect ranks on all the levels requires use of The Force

Game Info

GAME NAME: Velocity 2X

DEVELOPER(S): Futurlab

PUBLISHER(S): Futurlab

PLATFORM(S): PS4, Vita

GENRE(S): Shooter

RELEASE DATE(S): September 2, 2014

As a lover of old school video games, I used to play lots of auto-scrolling space shooters. I wasn’t the best at the likes of Gradius or R-Type, but I loved playing them. The first time I laid eyes upon Velocity Ultra 20-some odd years later, it looked right up my alley. And I was right. The mix of regular alien blasting and rescue pod collecting and speed boosting and teleporting was a great time. Sure I wasn’t good enough to perfect all the levels, but it was very enjoyable just completing the levels and looking for secrets. When I heard there was a sequel coming from the minds at FuturLab Limited, I was curious what they could do differently besides just different level layouts. But soon into the playthrough of Velocity 2X, my queries were answered, and answered with a bang.

Threeway Cannon

Velocity 2X picks up pretty much were the first game left off, with our hero waking up on a strange ship with strange memories. As you play the first few levels, you slowly start to recall the events of Velocity Ultra, making these levels a tutorial of sorts as you remember all the things your ship can do. Soon after you’ll meet your one alley for this game, who will help outfit you & your ship with different powers and abilities. I say you & your ship because in Velocity 2X, you get to leave your ship. The big addition to this new game is side-scrolling puzzle-platforming levels. Now it may sound odd to interrupt fast-paced space flying action with running and gunning, but it flows together beautifully. It feels so good to be flying full blast into a docking station, only to continue running at full speed as you shoot baddies and collect crystals, only to then return to your ship and continue the level. You get introduced to these docking station levels quite early, and the design of them does a great job of getting you familiar with the controls and powers you’ll be utilizing.

After a while things get fast and hectic, just like the original game. Some levels you have to boost the entire time. Some levels you have to teleport back and forth around the map to deactivate security gates. Some levels have you doing both at the same time. And some of the later ones have you doing all that while deactivating security gates on foot inside the docking stations. There’s even a mind-bending ship upgrade towards the end that I don’t want to spoil that offers yet another fun & tricky game mechanic.  Once you’re into the game a decent amount, almost all of the levels have going back and forth between on-ship and off-ship action. It’s a great addition that breaks up the monotony that sometimes set in from doing too many levels in a row of always flying up. Levels can get quite a bit longer with the new sections, and a few times they even felt a too long to be keeping a timer on you.

Run n Gun

Speaking of switching things up, Velocity 2X also brings you boss battles. That’s right. Boss battles. It was fun to run into these every once in a while, and they can be somewhat unexpected because they start like any normal level. After doing some cruising around, you encounter the big boss man and engage in trying to send him into the next dimension. It gets even more hairy during late fights when you have to actually fly inside the boss to take down their defenses before you can damage them. The brain power needed to destroy these bosses is refreshing for a space shooter, as is the variety of how they are presented.

Velocity always has had a unique art style to it, and it continues here. Everything is bright and shiny and has a touch of a neon hue to it, and it all pops wonderfully on the Vita screen. You even get new scenery and backgrounds in the levels after you beat the bosses. It’s a subtle change that gives you more of a sense of progress as you blast through the game. It’s a shame you have to move so damn fast through some of the levels because they look so purty. The story is told through cut-scene frames and journal entries, and these look just as nice as the rest of the game. I’d love to be able to use some of them as wallpaper on my Vita or laptop.

For a game as fast-paced as this, controls need to be just as tight. No disappointment here because everything felt very smooth. Things can get pretty crazy when you’re going full speed and need to shatter glass while defeating enemies or activating switches, so it’s nice that you have a few different options for firing weapons. You can even use the touch-screen of the Vita to teleport exactly where you need to go while in your ship, as well as help you aim your telepods while on foot. This really comes in handy when you have to move through several small chambers quickly, but I found that I mainly used the traditional right-stick method to teleport.

IceCaves

If you’re just playing to get to the end, the game isn’t overly difficult. It took me around 6 hours or so to finish off the last level, but that was with replaying a few sections for perfect rankings and bonus levels as I went along. But you’re not going to want to just finish the levels. The real challenge is in getting those perfect ranks, which means collecting every collectable, destroying every enemy and breakable object, finishing under the gold medal time limit, AND not dying once. It’s really daunting when you say it all out loud, but the satisfaction you get when you nail the perfect run is fist-pump worthy. Only the most skilled players will be able to take home the coveted platinum trophy on this one after perfecting all 50 levels. I only managed get perfects on 29 levels so far, but you can bet your fancy spaceships I’m not gonna stop trying. And if you need anymore incentive to play the levels over and over again, you have kindly been given one in the form of online leader boards. You can compare your scores to your friend’s list, people “near” to you, or the world. The developers even told me there would be a day one patch that will allow you to upload any scores you obtained while playing offline, which is perfect for people like me that play a great deal during their daily commute. The replayability is strong with this one.

If you enjoyed the electronical music stylings of the last game, you’ll have more to enjoy here. Some of the same musical themes are present again, and it was soothing to hear that familiar tune when I started Velocity 2X up. As you go on the music stays nice and consistent and fits the proceeding perfectly. Even the sound effects are spot on and I couldn’t imagine anything they could have done better in the audio department.

In space everyone can hear you screen with joy

THE RECOMMENDATION

Velocity 2X is a textbook example on how to do a sequel right. You get the fun that everyone loved from the first game, then you add new features that blend perfectly with old gameplay. All while staying consistent with the art and soundtrack and challenge of the original. If you enjoyed Velocity Ultra, you’ll love Velocity 2X. I can’t recommend this game enough. It’s just a good pure FUN video game. Now if you’ll excuse me, those remaining perfect rankings are calling my name.

 

 

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Velocity 2X Vita
Author Rating
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Author: Shaun Zimmerman View all posts by
Still waiting for the Commodore 128... Find me on Twitter @Zimm108