Velocity 2X Review – Quarp Speed (PS4/Vita)
Get ready to test your fast-paced gaming skills and your ability to not blink for long periods of time, because Velocity 2X is a brilliant rush of shooting, phasing, teleporting, and blasting that will leave you in the dust if you can’t keep up. All the facets have been polished making Velocity 2X a surprisingly satisfying shoot em’ up/side-scroller blend.
If you haven’t played past Velocity games, they involve controlling a little spaceship called the Quarp Jet flying upwards while the level continually moves down, possibly squishing you if you’re not careful. All the while, you have to shoot enemies, collect rescue pods, solve puzzles, and warp past obstacles to survive. Initially, I wasn’t looking forward to this part of the game because I don’t find very much enjoyment from fast-paced arcade-like gameplay. That’s where Velocity 2X outshines its predecessors, though. This time around, a side-scrolling bit has been thrown into the mix.
Somehow, it’s as if the greatness that was Velocity and Velocity Ultra has been transformed and expressed in a different way that compliments those first games beautifully. You play as Kai Tana, the pilot of the little spaceship, a kick-ass female protagonist who has lusciously stylized blonde hair on one side of her head, and a cyborg prosthetic for the other side. She can shoot and teleport just like her ship does, and this leads to the kind of interesting puzzles you would imagine for such a game. What you may not have imagined is the side-scrolling is just as fast-paced as the shoot em’ up portion. You run fast, warp fast, and think fast. It’s so much fun, and well placed within each level of piloting the Quarp Jet, that I never got tired of playing the game as I would have without the side-scrolling sections.
It’s obvious FuturLab has polished all aspects of this game. I expected the game to give me a few basic abilities or weapons and expand on those a little before generally just making me play through each level with nothing new but the environment and puzzles. That’s not how it happens. The entire game keeps you entertained with new, fresh abilities every so often. The progression feels natural and exciting, adding to the momentum of the game. And remember, it’s not just the ship that gets new abilities, it’s Kai as well. So not only does shooting stuff and phasing around stay new-feeling, docking your ship and putting boots to the ground as Kai feels fresh too. Once again, there’s so much fast paced momentum with all aspects of the gameplay that you never stay in one area for very long, and boredom never has a chance to catch up.
The slick style of art in Velocity 2X adds to the flashy, fast feeling to the game. Each level has a “scene” before it with some solid story, and the illustration always has high amounts of visual movement. If you aren’t all artsy like me and you don’t quite know what I mean, visual movement is when the layout, lines, and colors of a drawing/illustration/painting catch and direct your eye and create lots of movement in your mind. The artists behind Velocity 2X nailed it. The sound design follows suit with impressive songs that reflect the mood and environment of each level perfectly — spaceships, furious haste, surprising emotion, and all. This is another game soundtrack I will definitely purchase. The entire game does justice to its actual name, Velocity, very well.
The story surprised me. It was relatively deep, especially when you read the unlockable diary entries as you go. Kai is a powerful character who is simultaneously caring, stubborn, and talented. She also has a curious sidekick who becomes her good and only friend. While some parts of the dialogue are light-hearted, the story itself never seems corny or shallow. I am hypersensitive to all things corny, cheesy, or tacky, so I really appreciated and sort of marveled at how a game that uses still frames with text boxes can convey such a nice story.
Most games I have been playing lately can’t even begin to match the velocity of this game (no pun intended, it’s the perfect word!). I could almost feel the wind in my face as I played it. I was even compelled to redo some of the levels that felt really fluid to me, just to see if I could do it even more flawlessly. I wanted to feel that rush once I got each section down, and I truly think this game is meant to be played fluidly, especially the side-scrolling sections. The joy of running through the entire level, shooting and phasing perfectly, without stopping to catch my breath, was immense. You’d think the scenes between each level would be a nice rest, but they were like a fleet-footed jig in between mad break-dancing. They did a great job at smoothly connecting the gameplay parts of the game to the story parts so it doesn’t seem forced or unrealistic. Velocity 2X is a game that, once you play a bit, guides you into a sort of rhythm. Much like music games, it’s a very seductive effect.
Velocity 2X review copy provided by publisher. Reviewed on PS4. For more information on scoring, read our Review Policy here.