Velocity is a Playstation mini title developed by FuturLab, the award winning games studio behind Coconut Dodge, Beats Slider, Fuel Tiracas and Surge, with both the latter titles already reviewed on this very site (Ooh you lucky people you!). The Brighton based company originally released this title for the PSP and Playstation 3 under the Minis category, but luckily for every one, it is also compatible with PSVita (And a good job too).
Velocity is a new take on a vertical scrolling shooter, however it is so much more than that! You take control of a Quarp jet and are sent out on a rescue mission that involves you navigating space wreckages, dodging space station defenses and taking on a fleet of alien spacecraft, all intent on stopping you from saving the day! Do not fret though for your Quarp jet comes with a main cannon that is upgradeable, bombs which can be targeted using the d-pad and telepods which are very handy for when you bump into a fork in your road.
There are 50 levels to the singleplayer campaign and as you would expect these become harder to complete as you go. Your abilities are gradually introduced to you and you are given enough time to experiment with your new found ability before you are handed another one to experiment with. The levels themselves are cleverly crafted to allow you to learn your abilities and yet provide a challenge, some levels will not contain any enemies but will give you obstacles that your abilities are needed for, thus giving you a variety from simply blasting enemies mindlessly. In fact you will need your mind throughout the campaign as you learn to use all of your combined abilities to get through the later levels which will definitely test your reflexes and your skills!
Your score is recorded based on how long you took to complete the level, how many survivors you saved and your level score which takes into account how many enemies you have despatched. The scoring system leaves you able to replay levels at your leisure to gain a better score and more Xp which is used to unlock further levels as you progress through the campaign, trying to ‘perfect’ a level will require mastering your Quarp jets abilities.
The story, or narrative is delivered via wonderfully sharp sci-fi style comic book panels that really compliment the games look and feel.
Controls are standard D-pad or analogue stick for maneuvering your craft, while the action buttons are used for your abilities and weapons. Speed is controlled with the Right shoulder button and your map is displayed with the Left shoulder button. You are taught how to use your abilities on the fly rather than a bog standard tutorial, but the levels allow you to comfortably ease these abilities into your arsenal ready for the later challenges.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Velocity and you will too, the familiar feel of an old 2D vertical shooter is mixed with new ideas that really give this game a massive edge over its competition, its clever level design and scoring system will have you coming back for more time and again. This game really is easy to pick up and hard to master but you will definitely have fun trying! I must also give mention to the many references to sci fi movies and TV shows that pop up on nearly every page, everything from Farscape to Star Trek to Aliens and so much more is referenced somewhere within this game and it makes you smile when you find the ones you know!
You may have read that there is a full on PS Vita exclusive version of this Mini coming out very soon called Velocity Ultra, but DO NOT let that put you off trying this version out first. It is more than worth your time and effort by a long shot.
It is amazing to think how much has actually been crammed into this game before you even come away from the campaign, the amount of extras and their variety is a pleasant surprise for what you have paid for. This game even comes with fully working versions of Minesweeper and a calculator as extras! There is only one verdict I can give for this game and that is: Totally recommended for everyone and anyone, get it… NOW!
At A Glance
- Title: Velocity
- Publisher: FuturLab
- System: PSP Mini
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Local Multiplayer: No
- PlayStation TV Compatible: Yes
- Memory Card Space Needed: 76Mb