Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Review: Velocity 2X (PS Vita, PS4)

I picked up Velocity 2X as part of the Playstation Plus free games package, and was surprised by how much I played it, and hence feel confident enough to write a review for it, despite it now looking rather unlikely that I will finish the game.

Velocity 2X is an unlikely combination of 2 genres: the space-based vertical-scrolling shooter, and the side-scrolling platformer. The two of them work together in interesting ways. For instance, you might start one puzzle in space ship mode, only to have to dock and go into side-scrolling mode in order to complete the puzzle.

The game does a fairly good job of bringing you up to speed with the controls: first, you start with basic shooting and teleporting, and then puzzles(gates), bombs, and then bookmarks are introduced. The bookmarks enable the developer to construct complex levels where you'll have to backtrack in order to achieve higher scores and explore the entire level. The side-scrolling mode has its own puzzles, as well as tools, so you get introduced to them as well.

The game's well done, in that the difficulty level isn't set high, and it only gets hard if you want to say, pick up every crystal, or finish the level in the fastest possible time in order to achieve a gold medal or what-not. I'm largely immune to this types of in-game lures, but if you're not, then you're probably going to replay levels over and over again in order to hit those achievements.

Where the game falls down, however, is that it level-locks later levels to a total achievement score! That effectively forces you to go and replay levels until you get enough points to let you keep going in the game. If this was a mobile game, I'd expect there to be a micro-transaction engine reminding you over and over again that you can buy your way past those artificial barriers. Unfortunately, this is a full-priced game with a retail price (on amazon for $19.99) for the PC version. (I'm sure you can find it for $5 on a steam sale) That makes me scratch my head. Why would you punish your purchasers by locking out content in order to grind the same levels over and over again if you've already got their money?!!! Clearly the game designers think that the only people who might buy such a game are those who have an infinite amount of time to replay content they've already played once.

Because of this stupid decision, I can't recommend the game at full price. If you can get it for under $5 on a steam sale it's worth a shot if you think you'll like the combination of elements, but otherwise, it's a take-it-or-leave it game. That's a pity, because without the cap, I'd probably play the game to completion. As it is, I'm stuck in one of the later levels with no desire to replay all the previous levels.
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