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Switch Galaxy Ultra E3 Hands-On Preview: Go for A Ride (Vita)

June 22, 2014 Written by Paulmichael Contreras

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Switch Galaxy released on PlayStation Mobile last year, after a short six-week development cycle. While the game is playable on the Vita, the PlayStation Mobile platform limits how much memory it can use, and so the handheld is not used to its fullest potential. Considering that the game is very fast-paced and going for a mix of WipEout and AudioSurf, it’s no wonder developer Atomicom wants to remove any constraints and re-make the game on the PlayStation 4 and Vita. We got our mitts on the Vita version of Switch Galaxy Ultra, and have our takeaway available for you now.

For the uninitiated, Switch Galaxy Ultra is an arcade track-based rhythm game. You pilot a ship, shifting left and right between lanes as you cruise along the track as a thumping electronic soundtrack plays. You avoid obstacles while grabbing pickups and points. Hit too many obstacles and your game might end prematurely, but if you can make it all the way to the end of the track you will be rewarded.

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Gameplay is pretty straightforward. You use the shoulder buttons, analog stick or directional buttons to switch between lanes to avoid upcoming obstacles, which seem to be timed to the song playing in the background. As you progress, the sections become trickier, as does the intensity. If you hit an obstacle you are slowed down for a while, which is not ideal since the goal is to complete a track as quickly as possible. That’s pretty much all there is to it. Switch Galaxy Ultra will feature 55 levels, a nice jump up from the 25 in the original (which was one of our gripes in our review). There will be six ships to unlock and upgrade as well, adding some replayability.

Leaderboards, another point of contention for detractors of the original, are making an appearance here, as is cross-platform multiplayer. New scenery such as asteroid belts and tunnels will help to result in a more varied landscape to race on. A comic intro will be included now, crafted by WipEout concept artist, Darren Douglas, who is “the only person to have worked on every Wipeout game to date.” Last but certainly not least, because this game is going to be a full-fledged console port, Trophies will be included.

The original Switch Galaxy was known for its fast pace, and Switch Galaxy Ultra seems to be no different in that regard. You really have to pay attention and hit those shoulder buttons in time, or you will smack right into an obstacle. The visuals have been upgraded; we played on a Vita, and there were high-resolution textures and a solid, high framerate to boot. Add a multitude of special effects and a bumping, high-definition soundtrack, and this is a perfect pick-up and play arcade game. Several members of the Psygnosis team (of WipEout fame) are on Atomicom’s roster, and their influence absolutely shines through here. The result is one slick package. Look out for Switch Galaxy Ultra “soon.”