Backlog Project: Velocity 2X

Every now and then, it’s refreshing to put aside bigger, more complex games in favor of some simple arcade action. These games tend to be quite fast-paced and really quite merciless, which isn’t for everybody, but if you’re into that sort of thing, Velocity 2X is a game you shouldn’t overlook. After randomly choosing to buy and play it without knowing much about it, I ended up loving it quite a bit, and becoming rather good at it.

velocitycover

  • Name: Velocity 2X
  • Genre: Arcade | Action | Shoot ‘Em Up | Puzzle
  • Released: 2014
  • Developer: FuturLab
  • Publisher: Sierra Entertainment
  • Platforms: PlayStation Vita | PlayStation 4

Although I never played its predecessor, Velocity 2X appears to be essentially identical in gameplay to the first game, only with added platforming stages and obviously new levels to boot. The game is all about speed and precision, and balancing out fast advancement with avoiding hazards and defeating enemies. For perfect completion, you’ll also need to collect floating objects in the levels.

Like with any speed-based arcade game, frustration is guaranteed at times. But in a game like this, it’s unavoidable, and even a part of the charm – anyone who doesn’t want to get worked up every now and then because they were a couple seconds too slow should know to just look elsewhere for their gaming experience. What makes Velocity 2X a satisfying game, however, is that its design is sound, its controls are responsive, and its mechanics are so simple and easy to fathom that you’ll always know you just made a mistake if you fail.

Among other shoot-em-up games of its kind, Velocity 2X stands out as a game that nails the basics uncommonly well. Screenshot credit: https://psmedia.playstation.com

Among other shoot-em-up games of its kind, Velocity 2X stands out as a game that nails the basics uncommonly well.
Screenshot credit: https://psmedia.playstation.com

As can be expected, most of the levels require repeating over and over, until you have the paths and patterns down and can blast through the obstacle-ridden courses as much thanks to muscle memory as reflexes. Most levels are quite short, as is appropriate for this kind of game, meaning you won’t lose your mind because you made a mistake at the last moments of a 10-minute stage.

One of the distinguishing features of Velocity 2X is the instant teleportation mechanic: at any time, you may use the PlayStation Vita touchscreen (or a cursor-based alternative) to teleport to any unoccupied space on the screen. While it sounds like a great way to avoid danger, its main use is to navigate dead ends and parallel corridors, and to efficiently collect floating objects. As you get better at the game, the teleportation becomes a second nature, and to beat the game (let alone complete all the Trophies) you must learn to use it quickly and accurately, in fast succession and without fail.

The game alternates between the standard top-down flying segments and side-scrolling platforming areas, which are a fun change in pace and keep a lot of the levels fresh. Many of my favorite parts in the game are platforming stages, as they allow for (and require) a whole another level of precision of movement and coordination.

The platforming stages are more fun than screenshots can tell. Screenshot credit: http://videochums.com/

The platforming stages are more fun than screenshots can tell.
Screenshot credit: http://videochums.com/

There’s also a number of hidden “bonus levels”, which are unlocked by acquiring each bonus level’s respective collectible item from the main stages. There’s no way to know in which levels these items are, apart from the fact that there’s only a maximum of one per level, and some of them are really well hidden. Perfectionists have their hands full with those – the unlocking process is the real challenge, as the bonus levels themselves are rather simple puzzle stages with no actual time limit to speak of.

Velocity 2X also has an endearing story as context to all the pulse-pounding action. The plot is rather minimalistic, and the story is told through still images and text dialogue in between missions, but it provides a light framework for the game itself. The main benefit is giving personality to the main character, who is actually interesting enough to perhaps carry an actual narrative.

Velocity 2X is hard, but refreshing in its simplicity and flawlessness of execution. It doesn’t try too hard, but it nails the essence of what it is – a fun, challenging, fast-paced arcade game, that is both satisfying and entertaining.

Trophy Hunt

I unlocked the Platinum Trophy in a week and a half, on February 25th, 2016. A very rough estimate of time spent would be something like 25-30 hours, although I’m far from certain. Could be more, could be less.

I tried to perfect levels as I went through them, although I had to skip some of the more challenging ones and come back later. Most of the miscellaneous Trophies unlocked by themselves as I played, although I did repeat some levels to make sure I got them, such as Snooze You Lose for getting stuck in a door.

After completing Level 50 and earning Mind Over Matter, I went back and got the remaining gold medals on levels I missed them in. Then I set out to look for the remaining bonus levels, and I’ll admit I used a guide to see in which levels the last couple of them were, although I did the actual searching the old-fashioned way. After that, I completed all of the bonus levels, looked through all the files in the flight computer for the Background Reading Trophy, and unlocked the Platinum.

I thought the Trophy list was challenging but pretty straightforward – there aren’t a lot of random Trophies, and the ones it has are quite reasonable and pretty likely to unlock without any additional effort. I didn’t find the difficulty to be overwhelming, although I’ve heard a lot of people having much more trouble with this particular Platinum.

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