Review – Velocity 2X

This week’s featured review is Futurlab‘s Velocity 2x for PlayStation systems.

As a member of the PlayStation Plus Network, I receive two free downloadable PS4 titles every month. This month, I downloaded Velocity 2X on a whim and was totally blown away. Since I had heard nothing about the game previously and it was a free download, I assumed it was a sub-par indie title. Boy was I wrong!

Basic Plot Synopsis: The sequel to Velocity Ultra (which I have not played) this game is a shoot ’em up extravaganza. While most games in this genre lack substantial plot, FuturLab clearly tried to craft a worthwhile narrative around their slick mechanics. Players assume the role of Lt. Kai Tana, who wakes up after a horrific accident to discover her body is now cybernetically enhanced. Tana is desperate to return to her ship, so she teams up with fellow prisoner, alien Hjun Ralan III. Together, the two work to defeat the murderous Vokh species so Kai Tana can return home.

Velocity 2X on PS4 and PS Vita

My Thoughts: Velocity 2X seamlessly integrates vertical scrolling and side-scrolling action. Whether you are piloting a spaceship or running around as Tana herself, your main objective is to blow up everything you possibly can. Speed is integral to winning and the game play lends itself to a fast, smooth, controlled yet chaotic style. Thanks to teleport abilities, even the vertical scrolling sections require a dynamic horizontal and tactic movement. This variety keeps Velocity 2X feeling fresh and distinguishes it from other titles in the genre.

When you play a level, there is a strong sense of rhythm. The more you play, the more you feel the pulse of the game, allowing you to more gracefully navigate the levels. There are a few puzzle-based objectives in every section, adding variance to the cadence of a play session and preventing the player from just “going on automatic.”

The transition from spaceship to on-foot action is fluid and natural. The game slowly adjusts the players to the switch throughout the first few levels. After ten minutes, the on-foot sections feel like natural extensions of the game, and offer a greater sense of atmosphere. The visual design of the game is modern and aesthetically appealing. The bright lights against the crisp graphics and sharp illustrated 2D cut scenes give the game a sense of refined visual polish.

It wouldn’t be a shoot ’em up without boss battles and Velocity 2X delivers. Forcing players to utilize all of their various mechanics, the bosses pose threatening tactical problems instead of just being gigantic damage sponges. It is much more enjoyable to fear for you life in completely totality for a few brief minutes than slog through a half an hour of punch-and-hide game play seen in most genre boss fights. I am a big fan of how Futurlab address this hallmark of the genre.

With 50 stages, the game goes by surprisingly fast. However, with so many components to achieving a perfect score there’s a lot of replay value. If you have PlayStation Plus, you MUST download this title. If you aren’t a Plus member, still consider giving it a purchase, even if shoot ’em ups are not your thing. They’re not mine, but I am definitely a fan of Velocity 2X.

– E.B.

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