GAME NAME: Velocity Ultra
PLATFORM(S): PlayStation VITA
GENRE(S): Shooter, Puzzle, Arcade
RELEASE DATE(S): 15 May 2013
Arcade games hold many memories for gamers all over the world. These games were made to be addictive and most importantly, fun. Finding a game that not only takes you back in time to when games were literally all about fun but also more addictive than spending another person’s money, is very difficult to find. Fortunately for you guys, the PlayStation VITA exclusive, Velocity Ultra is here and, in spite of being a little older than when we would usually review a game, it’s magnificent and that should make up for it.
Velocity Ultra was originally a PS mini-game called Velocity but has been remastered for the PS VITA. It’s a highly addictive space shooter game that is not only challenging, but is a ton of fun to play and manages to grab and keep your attention for long periods of time, or until your battery dies.
In the year 2211, the heart of the Toron nebula – the star Vilio – has unexpectedly exploded, creating a red giant. Fortunately, no one was injured during the explosion, but an electromagnetic pulse was released, making all nearby fleets, mining ships and colony vessels powerless and stranded. The following year a rescue operation was set in motion, but they soon discovered that Vilio was beginning to turn into a black hole and immediate action needed to take place. This is where you come in.
You are Kai, a test pilot for the prototype Quarp Jet – a jet that has the ability to teleport. Her mission is to safely extract the survivors while navigating through dangerous Territory. Kai is also warned that their warring neighbours – the Zetachron – have deployed vast amounts of their fleet to capture the stranded survivors and loot whatever materials they can get hold of.
The game is divided into 50 different missions, with each mission having its own stats page showing your prowess in each individual mission. The stats range from total points acquired, best time and the total amount of people rescued in the mission. Each level progresses in a northerly fashion and you are required to rescue as many people and destroy as many enemies as you can in the shortest amount of time possible.
The first few missions act as a tutorial and gives you enough time to get used to the controls. In most cases, the control system has the standard 2D shooter controls, but it also incorporates the VITA’s touchpad capabilities. You have two sets of weapons, your main gun, which gets upgraded the further you progress in the game, and your bombs. The main gun is only able to shoot forward, so you’ll need to use your bombs to shoot in the other directions to nail the enemies your frontal guns can’t reach. You can also boost, to make the jet move faster and teleport. The teleporting is what makes this game unique. It allows you to navigate the maze-like levels, avoid obstacles and adds to your effectiveness in combat. Teleporting around will help you dodge enemy attacks, flank them or just avoid them altogether. You can teleport accurately, by using the VITA’s touchscreen, which makes the game a little easier.
Many of the missions include a puzzle based element, which often tests your reflexes and skill at deploying bombs. Certain parts of the level are shielded and you need to destroy the power source, in numerical order of course. Mess up the order and you’ll need to start from fresh. This becomes particularly challenging when you have to fight hordes of fast moving enemies and turrets.
Later in the game, you’ll be able to deploy telepods; telepods help you return to certain sections in the level. These are needed to solve some of the game’s tougher puzzles, such as in the levels where your route branches out into different directions, requiring you to backtrack.
In terms of visuals, they have been updated since the game’s previous release and are now on par with the HD quality of the VITA, making it very pleasing to look at. The artwork is especially good and so worthy of special mention. The story is told through said, and rather quite beautiful, comic artwork that suits the overall feel of the game, but there’s not many of them, which is a little bit of a let down. And as for the game’s narrative, some of back story and context is revealed through documents that can be access from the main menu; another layer of added depth you’ll be able to appreciate. The sound is great and suits the game well, but there isn’t a lot of it, so you’ll notice the same music being played over and over, which can become annoying. Happily though, with the constant change of pace in each level, the game never feels like a chore or repetitive, but rather grabs your attention from start to finish.
The game has a plethora of extras; extras like that bonus missions, old school mini-games (like Snake, Galaxian and Mines), concept art, mission progress, trophies and a calculator (I kid you not), giving you a lot of bang for your buck. So when all is said and done, Velocity Ultra is one of the best games you can get on the Playstation Network and is most definitely a must have for VITA owners.