While not being exactly a new game, Velocity 2X released four years ago for the PS Vita, and it is only now making its debut on the Nintendo Switch. Made by FuturLab, the game itself is a follow up to the well-received Velocity Ultra that introduced us to its unique take on the classic top-down shooter style. Velocity 2X does justice to the original while adding portions of brand new mechanics – a side-scrolling platformer which adds new things keeps the game fresh and exciting. The top-down shooting portion has all the exciting charm of Velocity Ultra, full of twitchy moments that keep you on your toes. The play feels both calm and frantic, a brilliant way to lose yourself in the game. There is a strange sense of Zen as you begin to master each level.
The port feels at home on the Nintendo Switch – the game simply melds nicely with the Nintendo Switch’s vibe and brings an air of quality that is perhaps lacking from other Nintendo Switch indie games. Notably, the game does fail to make use of any of the Nintendo Switch’s unique aspects (other than the portable nature), with the controls being standard with no motion aspect.
Nothing is thrown at you all in one go
Velocity 2X brings new players into the fold nicely, introducing new mechanics at a steady but pleasing pace. After the tutorial and first few levels, you find yourself deploying a large set of mechanics at ease, as well as switching between a side-scrolling platformer to a top-down shooter with no problems. This easy introduction means even the most casual player won’t feel overwhelmed with the depth of gameplay within Velocity 2X. The cleverly designed tutorial levels walk you through everything you need without it feeling like a chore to learn.
The side-scrolling aspect of the game feels very reminiscent of PC game SpeedRunners though perhaps a little less satisfying and with a slower feel. It’s a nice addition to the game though, and provides a nice break between the frantic shoot ’em up part of the game. Some players may find the transition jarring or frustrating – especially in speed run attempts, since you have to ‘dock’ your ship during the top-down section in order to transition into the side-scrolling part, only to find the correct numbered switch to unlock it and continue in the top-down shooter level. These sections are fun though and provide a new series of challenges. The controls for these sections are very similar to the top-down shooter sections, so it feels like a natural transition.
As a top-down shooter, this is great fun. Mechanics like the teleportation separate Velocity 2X from similar games. One of my favourite mechanics is the boost button that moves the screen upwards and boosts your character forward – essential to get a good time yet simultaneously pushing you further into the peril. Velocity 2X has a nice mix of obstacles and challenges for you to overcome, with nothing feeling too forced – the game seemingly effortlessly does everything.
Give me points!
The game scores you on several different aspects; the time you took, how many ‘survivors’ you rescued, how many crystals you collected, and your overall point score. I struggled most with time – often rescuing everything, shooting everything, and collecting every crystal – but at a really slow pace. One of the best things about the game is that it lets you focus on the aspects you most enjoy, unlocking further parts of the game based on your abilities.
Velocity 2X has brilliant replayability. Speed-runs and daily challenges are available to keep content fresh and players happily coming back for more. The game also rewards you for replaying older levels – who doesn’t want to beat their previous times and scores? The levels you unlock depend on your success in previous levels, meaning you have to score perfectly in the original levels to unlock everything.
The Switch version of the game also includes all of the previous DLC content as standard which is a nice touch.
The look is amazing, but the sounds are only pleasant
The game itself looks great. The graphics are simple with a comic book feel – engaging yet gorgeous. Everything is crystal clear, with enemies and locations well defined. It’s definitely reminiscent of old-school arcade but with a modern touch that makes it feel fresh. It’s definitely nothing out of this world or truly stunning but it is still aesthetically pleasing and does the job.
The music is a kind of generic space theme music but it is pleasant and it’s fast beat adds to the pacing of the game. The music changes subtly depending on the style of level you’re on, adding to the atmosphere and dragging you deeper into the game.
Overall this game is clean, well made and definitely fun. It has a level of detail and depth which sets it aside from other games in the shooter arcade category. Whether you’re drawn to becoming a master of the game or content with just getting through the levels, this game has something for everyone. I highly recommend it – it would make a great addition to any Switch gamers library, providing quality beyond most indie games.
Note: This game was provided by the publisher for the purposes of this review.
- Very high quality bar
- Feels at home on the Switch
- Switch version includes all previous DLC
- Transitioning from top-down to side-scrolling feels natural
- Speed runners may find the game too slow
- Music feels like generic ‘space’ theme