Review: Velocity 2X (PS4)

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Title: Velocity 2X
Format: PlayStation Network Download (2.5 GB)
Release Date: September 2, 2014
Publisher: FuturLab
Developer: FuturLab
Price: $14.99 *This is a Cross-Buy title.
ESRB Rating: E10+
Velocity 2X is also available on PlayStation Vita.
The PlayStation 4 version was used for this review.
A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review purposes.
PS Nation Review Policy.

Golden Minecart Award Winner 2014:
– Best Cross-Buy Game (PS Vita)

Gameplay:
Velocity 2X is a great blend of a traditional shoot-em-up and Metroid-like platforming. The added element of shifting through space with a push of a button is what gives Velocity its unique spin on the genre. Controlling the ship through space is accomplished with the simple use of the joystick, but this added element of shifting will have you pressing the circle button, quickly pointing to your new destination and releasing the button (instantly teleporting you to a new location). This added technique helps with getting out of sticky situations but its purpose is more appropriately geared towards maneuvering around the levels. Velocity 2X, much like shooters of the Sega Genesis era, is an on-rails shooter. While you have full control of your ship within the environment, the entire stage slowly progresses forward, essentially crushing you if you are not aware of your surroundings.

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The game is a bit more forgiving in that running into a wall will not destroy your vessel. However, if you get trapped at the bottom of the screen as the wall of the stage descends, you will definitely go boom. Fortunately your handy teleportation is there to zap you out of harm’s way. It seems like this would make the stages in Velocity 2X a breeze, right?

Not quite. The stages are timed (relatively-generously) and you have pods to rescue and bad guys to defeat. There is a boost button to advance the stage at a speedier rate so that you can make better time, but speeding up the progression of the stage also means that those walls I mentioned before will come towards your quicker as well. And while you can teleport out of harms way you need to develop top skills in order to zip between chambers while maintaining fast speed in order to free as many pods as possible. All this makes for a unique pacing that sets Velocity 2X apart from its kin.

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Visuals:
The top-down element of Velocity 2X, albeit running at a silky smooth 1080p, doesn’t introduce much into the visual realm of twitch shooters, but what is there looks great. FuturLab built this game from the ground up from its original PlayStation minis roots, and it shows. Even the side-scrolling areas, which are new to the titles, look amazing and really tie the world together. The cinematics are told in comic-book style that share the game’s visual style.

I realize that gamers are looking for the next big triple-A title to harness the power of the PS4 and show some amazing graphics, but games like these still show what can be done by smaller studios. The game exudes color and style.

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Audio:
A brilliant soundtrack complements some great “pew-pew” sound effects. No, really. This game has great music and it sounds even better pumping out of my sound system from my PS4. I’m a little bummed that the cinematic scenes are not spoken, and I love how Resogun incorporates voices into the sound mix, as it really adds another layer of intensity to the sound. But on its own merits, Velocity 2X truly shines.

Online/Multiplayer:
This game is single player only, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t compete for high-scores with your friends.

Conclusion:
Since Velocity 2X was offered as a PlayStation Plus freebie it is likely that most of you at least gave it a chance. If this was your type of game, you might have poured hours into mastering its awesome teleport mechanics, trying to shave time from your score. If you only stumbled upon it now and are wondering whether or not the game is worth your money and time I can safely assure you that the sum of its parts makes for an awesome shoot-em-up.

I found myself replaying stages just to see if I could shave a few seconds off my time, or trying to rescue that one pod that I missed earlier. Again, I realize that certain folks avoid games like these because of the “indie” aspect, but having titles like these in between the triple-A titles keeps things interesting while we wait for the next big thing. And in some cases (like Velocity 2X) you find yourself enjoying the smaller game more than some of the higher-profile games out there.

Score:
8.5

* All screenshots used in this review were taken directly from the game using the Share functionality on the PlayStation 4.

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