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Velocity 2X Review


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On 09/26/2018 at 09:00 AM by Nick DiMola

All warped out.
RECOMMENDATION:

At $19.99, it's hard to recommend this one. As unremarkable as I found it, it's not a terrible game, but I'd suggest it only at a decent discount before you take the plunge.

Velocity 2X, by all measures, is a well made game. It has a pretty extensive amount of content including 50 core levels with a healthy number of objectives to achieve in each, a set of unlockable puzzle-based bonus levels, and the Switch version even includes the DLC out-of-the-box. But even after completing the whole game, I never really felt satisfied with it. While there’s a lot of content, each level feels similar to the last and this lack of diversity eventually wore me down. By the time the credits rolled, I was relieved to be done with it.

Players take on the role of protagonist Lt. Kai Tana, now prisoner of the Vokh, who covet her unique Quarp drive. However, shortly after the game begins, Kai is able to escape with the help of Ralan, a Jintindian slave of the Vokh. Kai returns the favor and liberates Ralan, who acts as her coordinated intelligence throughout the game. Players are treated to a short bit of dialog, usually with Ralan, at the beginning of each mission to give some context to your actions and move the story along. As things progress, Ralan will have you bouncing to different planets to rescue other Jintindians and to recover precious resources that will help improve your ship’s unique tech.

The aforementioned Quarp Drive is also the main hook of Velocity 2X. It’s a teleportation device that allows you to skip through wormholes from one spot to another, both within your ship and when you’re on foot. Offering a combination of shoot-’em-up gameplay and platforming, you’ll have to warp around constantly to achieve success in each of your missions. By holding the ZL button, a cursor will appear on the screen that will allow you to direct where you’ll warp to.

In your ship, you can warp to any open spot on the screen; on foot you have a limited radius (until an upgrade allows you to toss teleportation pods to warp to). While the warping is important, so is speed. Every mission is timed and the game encourages you to blast through as quickly as possible. Holding ZR will scroll the screen more quickly thus allowing you to move faster and often expeditiously opening up new warp locations. The same button will allow you to run on foot. In all instances, you’re simultaneously trying to collect everything around, be that survivors in the ship or rekenium shards on foot, while taking out the enemies and often solving navigation puzzles.

At first it’s a very hectic experience. You’re popping in and out of your ship, landing at docks to quickly blow up a new sequential lock, then jetting back off and warping around to find all of the other locks to unblock your path forward. Eventually you’ll be able to drop pods in your ship and teleport back to a prior location after fully exploring a branching path to blow up any and all locks. The same gimmick is eventually applied to the platforming sections and you’ll have to do a complex interwoven dance of the two to complete the later levels.

However, it all feels so uninspired. The progression is obvious and the pattern to achieve success in every mission is basically the same. Dying doesn’t matter, only insofar as it slows down how quickly you beat the level. For most levels, on the first pass I found myself achieving at least the second fastest time and grabbing of all of the survivors, rekenium shards, and hitting the highest score requirement as well. As such I was earning nearly all of the available XP, which is required to unlock subsequent levels. By the end of the game, I did have to do some light backtracking and achieve some better times and scores in order to unlock the final missions.

While I usually get obsessive over achieving higher and higher scores or quicker times, I never really got bit by that bug with Velocity 2X and I found myself just trying to get through quickly for the sake of being done more quickly. Because every level basically boils down to following the leftmost path until the end, backing up to your last set telepod and following the next leftmost path until no paths remain, it quickly became tedious. Sometimes it’s satisfying to quickly jet through levels and find that cadence and perfectly execute it all, but more often than not it’s just a matter of going through the motions and moving on.

There are a few stand out moments with inventive boss fights or complex web-like levels that require consistent warping around, but these are few and far between when looking at the full offering. While never exceptional, it’s still a well constructed and solid premised experience.

While I often wanted my love for Velocity 2X to grow, it just never did. I can appreciate how tight everything is and how perfectly it works mechanically, even how satisfying it can be when you’re bending space exactly as necessary to accomplish all objectives in record times. But more often than not the whole thing feels rote. If you’re looking for a game that could be fun in very short bursts, this might be the perfect fit, but long sessions only serve to expose the weakness in the level design.

Review Policy

In our reviews, we'll try not to bore you with minutiae of a game. Instead, we'll outline what makes the game good or bad, and focus on telling you whether or not it is worth your time as opposed to what button makes you jump.

We use a five-star rating system with intervals of .5. Below is an outline of what each score generally means:


All games that receive this score are standout games in their genre. All players should seek a way to play this game. While the score doesn't equate to perfection, it's the best any game could conceivably do.


These are above-average games that most players should consider purchasing. Nearly everyone will enjoy the game and given the proper audience, some may even love these games.


This is our middle-of-the-road ranking. Titles that receive three stars may not make a strong impression on the reviewer in either direction. These games may have some faults and some strong points but they average out to be a modest title that is at least worthy of rental for most.


Games that are awarded two stars are below average titles. Good ideas may be present, but execution is poor and many issues hinder the experience.


Though functional, a game that receives this score has major issues. There are little to no redeeming qualities and should be avoided by nearly all players.


A game that gets this score is fundamentally broken and should be avoided by everyone.


 

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