Review

Velocity 2X Review

  • Game release: September 2, 2014
  • Reviewed:
  • PS4

Keep on the move.

Velocity 2X is interactive poetry. All of its pieces, all of its movements, all of its systems and mechanics flow seamlessly into and out of one another to create a constant tone of movement and a feeling of endless flow. A mistimed jump, a poorly placed shot, and even death are merely delays; brief hurdles in your pursuit of a perfect run. Velocity's influences are clear from the outset--Metroid, Mario, and countless classic shoot-em-ups. Molding such disparate genres together isn't easy, but Velocity manages to create a tight, focused experience with a stunning level of finesse.

At any given point you could be at the helm of a blazing-fast ship equipped with the ability to teleport anywhere, or you could be running around as a not-so-subtle reference to Metroid's Samus Aran--arm cannon and all. Velocity 2X opens with the capture of protagonist, Kai. Shortly thereafter, she undergoes numerous cybernetic experiments, giving her an extraordinary set of abilities. Even without a complex or gritty narrative, Kai's arc as a protagonist is still sympathetic. She regularly flashes between aggressive, sassy, humorous, and even nostalgic. Phenomenal artwork that is crisp and prismatic helps reinforce that broad emotional spectrum. Cel-shading mixed with some clever lighting gives Kai and the world she inhabits a palpable sense of weight and presence. Velocity 2X pulls heavily from its 2D inspirations, but adds distinct visual layers that give the environments depth. That flair effectively communicates both the emotional context for any given scene and helps highlight obstacles to you so that you can keep up your momentum without having to pick through convolution.

Velocity offer more than impressive visuals, though. The early stages introduce each gameplay type separately so that you can familiarize yourself with how each works. Later, once you've mastered them, it blends all of these ideas together while doling out unique twists. That's critical, too, because the game is layered and nuanced to such a degree that it takes an entire campaign to move from “comfortable” to “fluent” with all of its mechanics. Velocity 2X uses a novel approach by using the entire game as a tutorial and subsequent runs as the challenge. That only works because there's a steady progression that runs throughout. Each stage feels like an incremental step up in difficulty that loops back around to the beginning areas. Perfectly finishing an early level is substantially harder than merely completing one of the later ones, and that helps you feel like you're still growing and learning the second time. The unfortunate side effect of that approach is that the finale lacks the appropriate thematic climax. Tension is constantly ratcheted higher and higher, but there's no release at the end--just another loop. It's a small issue, but it's also the only thing holding Velocity 2X from utter perfection.

The first few areas teach basic ship movement. From there, Velocity 2X folds in its brand of teleportation, which is a lightning fast flick-based affair. It's a novel way to move throughout your environment. Walls fall away and your path through any given level takes on another dimension. It does take some getting used to, however. Initially I felt like I was haphazardly bouncing around. The harsh sound of a warp and the smooth animation make these micro-jumps consistently satisfying, but I didn't realize how beautiful that could be until my second round. Starting a jump requires careful aiming, and when you're racing through a new section it's easy to mess that up and accidentally kill yourself. That doesn't matter though, because death is never a big deal. You respawn quickly, losing little more than a second or two most of the time. On the second, third, or fourth time through, you'll have become familiar enough with the area to plan and calculate warps rapidly that are safe but imprecise. That's supported by a forgiving aiming system that favors snaps of the joystick over meticulous targeting. Latter levels will have you play as Kai on foot, where there are even more environmental dangers. To compensate, teleportation works only at set distances for each of the four cardinal directions, and keeps the action-platforming from becoming unnecessarily lethal. When combined with the dashes and jumps introduced later, movement in Velocity 2X becomes an elegant system for expression. Dashing, shooting, jumping, and more help flesh out the later stages.

After the pieces have been introduced and tested in controlled environments, Velocity 2X starts combining them in increasingly complex sequences with longer, sometimes labyrinthine challenges. Telepods allow you to set up long range warp points, and they facilitate puzzles that have you completing some parts before flashing back to the beginning to take an alternate route. It's a brilliant system that creates controlled bursts of backtracking without the monotony that often follows. In one level, literally called “The Labyrinth,” you'll have to set up these points across the map and warp back repeatedly as you unlock new zones. It sounds slow and tedious, but teleportation is integrated so smoothly and completely that it always feels perfect, maintaining that core focus on speed and momentum.

That constant pressure to move forward and be faster creates micro risk/reward moments. You can't dash while also using your main arm cannon when on foot. You still have access to a larger rifle that can only fire left or right. That mechanic forces you to sacrifice speed for protection or vice versa, and encourages you to put yourself in danger to move just a bit faster. Similarly, while in the ship, your boost pushes the whole map upwards. Holding that speed can catch you on ledges, killing you as the screen continues to scroll. The trade-off provides depth and enough emergent variety to keep every run on nearly every level fresh. Each of Velocity 2X's ingredients are basic in themselves. Shooting down enemy ships isn't interesting on its own, but when combined with an exceptional system for movement and tied to an omnipresent clock, it feels truly special.

A mistimed jump, a poorly placed shot, and even death is merely a delay; a brief hurdle in your pursuit of a perfect run.

You feel the running theme of momentum constantly. Velocity builds its play to feel uninterrupted. Death isn't a mark of failure. Shifting between story and play isn't marked by a shift in background music. Fractions of a second separate ship combat and platforming. Sleek animations and consistent frame rates graphically sell the motif. Players can shift seamlessly between the PS4 and the Vita, and Velocity 2X is just as gorgeous and just as fluid on both. There's never a dropped beat, never a moment where you aren't moving, and you can always be faster.

The Good
Wonderfully simple-yet-nuanced mechanics that perfectly layer together
Stunningly beautiful art, brought to life by silky animation
Phenomenal soundtrack that runs the gamut between wistful and aptly invigorating
Powerful sense of flow is almost meditative
Stellar design not only works as a subtle tutorial, but a test of high-level skill
The Bad
Anti-climatic Finale
9
Superb
About GameSpot's Reviews

About the Author

Daniel has mastered the first 26 levels, and hopes to get perfect scores on the remaining 24 soon. For this review he spent about 20 hours over the course of two weeks playing the game on both the Vita and the PS4. He also bugged his friends relentlessly, muttering that the game "looked like silky butter dripping on [his] eyeballs."

Discussion

130 comments
Sarijon
Sarijon

Yep it truly is an addictive and enjoyable game. My only gripe would be that in order to finish the latter levels you have to revisit previous levels again and again and again in order to rack up enough xp (to gain enough xp access to further the game via better times, better scores, better points etc) thus slowly turning a once enjoyable game increasingly into a grind.....

Sarijon
Sarijon

yep this is an incredible enjoyable and addictive game, my one fustrating gripe is that I wish to complete the latter levels (i'm @ 39) but because i don't have enough xp i have to revist earlier levels, again and again and again (quicker time, most points, better skill .... etc) that its turn from enjoyable pick up to annoying chore/slogg...

guitarpete462
guitarpete462

This game is incredibly fun and addictive. I truly love it! Still weird how this got a 9 and Destiny got a 6. Just feels... odd. 

RAMPLUG
RAMPLUG

9? really?? maybe is me but I don´t think so, I played for 10 minutes and get bored, if this game came out in 2012 could be fun but in 2D graphics I didn´t love the art direction or the logic of the controllers.

Ahiru-San
Ahiru-San

wow such a dull arcade game gets a 9?! I had more fun with Resogun than this...

runningman5ksmak
runningman5ksmak

the game is fun and I have only done 6 levels but it only feels like a solid 7 so far

jontr0n
jontr0n

I normally disagree with most of the rabble in the comments section on this site, BUT, I wholeheartedly agree that this game does not deserve a 9.  The music is a 10/10 but damn I don't have any drive to finish the game, there is literally nothing that makes me want to go back to it.  The plot was uninteresting and it didn't really affect the actual gameplay much besides adding a new move from time to time.  But those new moves were boring too.  To sum it up, I'd give this 7/10, there are plenty of games reviewed here that have gotten less than 9/10 that are way more fun than this little game.  I'll probably finish it at some point, but honestly I'd rather turn it on for the music.

awesome_reach
awesome_reach

"Man, I wish we had a GAME to play"--Xbox fangirls

JBLAZE916
JBLAZE916

What do you mean by anti-climatic? Not enough weather for you, Daniel? It's anticlimactic.

delakpanlaa
delakpanlaa

It's a good game but it gets repetitive very fast...

ozm4n
ozm4n

This is what I hate about GS. Reading the article, it's written as if the reviewer liked it enough to give it a 10, but gave it a 9 for reasons unbeknownst to me. People incorrectly argue that giving a game a 10/10 rating means it's 'perfect', but that's obviously not the case. 10/10 simply means it's in the top 10% of all games you've ever played. In the same way that a 5* movie rating doesn't mean it's perfect, it simply means that it's in the top 20% of movies you've seen.


And this is beside the fact that most game reviews on this site get 7/10. Why? Why is 7/10 so common a rating? It doesn't make sense, statistically, for the majority of games reviewed to get 7/10.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

this got a 9? 


iv played this


it got a 9?


what the f*** am i missing????? harsh time limit when trying to get "perfect", dull ""enimies"" using the term lightly turbo up the screen and smash into alot of blocked of walls....oh me days this game was so dull rinse repeat missions how it get a 9

foxhound_fox
foxhound_fox

A shame this isn't a multiplatform title. I don't think independent games should ever be exclusive. They should be for everyone to enjoy.

kidflash2000
kidflash2000

I got this game for free on Vita and it's amazing! Worth the buy for sure.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

I wonder if all these people complaining about it would say its awesome if it was on the XB1. I swear. I don't see how anyone can say they can fall asleep playing a game that is fast paced. Nobody is even giving legitimate complaints. I think its great and happy to be in the majority and with the reviews.

Infinite_713
Infinite_713

Played for 10 minutes? These morons barely gave the game a chance. I played it for a few minutes thinking the same thing but as the game progress, it gets much better and I'm enjoying it now.

skiggy34
skiggy34

I dont know how this game got a 9.....  I installed it last night and played it this morning for a few minutes and I have no further need to play it ever again....   Its nothing against PS but I would score this game roughly at a 5 maybe.....  The music is the best part of the game.... 

Bexorcist
Bexorcist

I played this game for 10 minutes and uninstalled it. I'm getting really sick and tired of these crappy PS+ games. And yes, I enjoy an indie game now & then. Just bought olliolli, which I believe is awesome, but this is just utter RUBBISH!

Dark_Rage
Dark_Rage

This game is awesome, the best way to enjoy it is to play it as fast as possible.

SipahSalar
SipahSalar

Gameplay seems overwhelmingly boring. But it fills the indie criteria of being "cool" so whatever.

j4x2020
j4x2020

I may be dumb, but how this game was 'clearly' influenced by Mario somehow escapes me, Because of its side-scrolling stages? Which are about as different from Mario games as one side-scroller may be different from another? 

I guess Doom was also heavily influenced by Mario, since it has separated stages with start and finish points, power ups, enemies and jump button.

Ladiesman17
Ladiesman17

Why this crap got 9/10??? Impossibru...

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

You know, I have to admit: This game really surprised me. I love the blend of vertical shooter with side-scroller, the innovative controls with fast-paced design, and the art style with the adrenaline pumping soundtrack.

Is this game a 9? I don't know if I'd go that far. As it stands, I'd give it an 8. I might have gone further had the game been a little longer, the ending wasn't so abrupt, and the game had genuine cutscenes or voiceover in between levels.

binderdundat
binderdundat

ign is kicking your ass cause they make videos.

zzyoshiman
zzyoshiman

Its been a year and a half now, and people are still bitching about TLoU's score on a game that isn't related to it even slightly. Bravo internet, bravo.

Shadowdanc3r
Shadowdanc3r

If it had a male lead instead, it would've garnered a score of 8/10.

robchiang1990
robchiang1990

@JBLAZE916 Let's just say that Futurelab left a dumb cliffhanger for sequel rather than wrap thing up neatly. 

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

@Mkeegs79 i have the vita... i downloaded this game..... its dull repative no actull challege just hit the swtichs in number order and warp around alot of bolcked passages which seems alot the controlls is kinda confussing from ship to running but this got old real fast

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

@skiggy34 Get out of here! A few minutes? The complexity of it is added with new abilities and challenges as you progress. You did nothing so your opinion is irrelevant. You think anyone would take you serious with a few minutes of gameplay?

rawkstar007
rawkstar007

@Bexorcist You played for 10 minutes? You didn't even start the game yet! You were just training!

MrIze
MrIze

Doom didn't have a jump button.

skiggy34
skiggy34

@Ladiesman17 I agree.  I fell back asleep this morning playing it.  This is the worst review I have ever seen.  This is worse than IGN's Infamous SS review...  There is no way this game is up there with Resogun, Titanfall and TLOU.  No Way!  Yes its indie and different but scores are scores.  If a game doesnt keep me, a guy with major ADHD playing, its crap.(IMO)

Sound_Demon
Sound_Demon

@binderdundat Videos are lazy and usually the gameplay footage on IGN is really irrelevant to what they are talking about. Like if they are talking about MP they are showing footage on how the shop system works lol.

Sound_Demon
Sound_Demon

@Shadowdanc3r Not even, it would have probably gotten a 6 with an "uninteresting male lead" but Daniel starky is known for not really incorporating gender politics or any politics into the game. I think I can trust him.

Mkeegs79
Mkeegs79

@Flyin3lvl @Mkeegs79 No actual challenge? Don't give me that crap. I highly doubt your breezing through the levels with perfects. Geez. If your going to bash it, can you do it more gracefully? I would say especially when your contradicting yourself by saying its confusing and with no challenge. Besides, its not so simple as you say if you actually put time into it.

Flyin3lvl
Flyin3lvl

@Mkeegs79 @Flyin3lvl nope not breezing through the levels and cant be asked trying to get the perfects 

in all honesty i forgot about this game and havnt played it the only reminder was seeing your reply in email notifications


to adress the bashing- iv downloaded, i played and will now uninstall.

Velocity 2X More Info

Follow
  • First Released
    • PlayStation Vita
    • PS4
    Velocity 2X features puzzle-platforming action alongside top-down shoot-'em-up gameplay.
    7.2
    Average User RatingOut of 21 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Velocity 2X
    Developed by:
    FuturLab
    Published by:
    FuturLab
    Genres:
    Action, Shooter, 2D
    Content is generally suitable for ages 10 and up. May contain more cartoon, fantasy or mild violence, mild language and/or minimal suggestive themes.
    Everyone 10+
    All Platforms
    Fantasy Violence