Velocity®Ultra
Gameplay 9
Graphics 7
Sound 8

Velocity Ultra doesn’t exactly excel in the visual department, but it more than makes up for it with the addictive gameplay. At first glance it looks like a pure vertical shooter, but later levels introduce some nice puzzle elements. With fifty standard levels and plenty of unlockable challenges the game offers more than enough value for money.

Gameplay: Blends classic shooting with some modern puzzle solving.

Graphics: Functional but nothing outstanding.

Sound: Some nice old school style tunes

Summary 8.0 Great
Gameplay 0
Graphics 0
Sound 0
Summary rating from user's marks. You can set own marks for this article - just click on stars above and press "Accept".
Accept
Summary 0.0 Terrible

Velocity®Ultra

Developer: Curve Digital / Futurlab | Publisher: Curve Digital | Release Date: 2013 | Genre: Action / Indie / Shooter / Puzzle | Website: Official Website | Purchase: Steam

When a star collapse causes a black hole you and your experimental Quarp Jet is sent in to rescue the nearby survivors. With the power to all mining ships and stations knocked out by the black hole the survivors have sealed themselves in life pods to await extraction. To make matters worse, some hostile forces have taken the opportunity to attack, further complicating your mission.

Your Quarp Jet is no ordinary space craft and besides being armed with guns and bombs can also teleport. Close range teleportation allow you to bypass obstacles or maneuver around enemies while long range teleportation is essential for navigating the maze like levels. Velocity Ultra might have the appearance of a straightforward arcade style shooter, but it actually has much more in common with a puzzle title.

Your main goal on each level is to rescue the survivors and you need to gather up a certain amount to proceed. Survivors are scattered all over the place and while they are easy to spot in early levels things soon become a bit trickier with the introduction of shields and switches. Switches need to be shot in order to remove the corresponding shield, but you might have to warp back to certain junction points as you don’t always encounter the switches in the right order. Fortunately you can drop teleportation beacons and bring up a handy map screen to help you plan your route through each level.

You have a time limit on each level so you can’t just keep jumping back and forth all the time, which makes some of the larger mazes quite tricky to complete. Your screen also never stops scrolling so while you can touch walls without being destroyed, it is fatal if you get trapped in a dead end by the scroll. You’ll also face some enemies and while these guys spew hordes of bullets in your direction you can take multiple hits before exploding making them less of a threat. Health pickups are also available and there are no boss fights so don’t expect the challenge in this game to stem from the enemies.

At the end of each level you are graded on the amount of survivors you rescued, the time it took you to complete the level and the score you attained. Opening up new levels require a certain score so you might have to repeat some levels to improve your score in order to make progress. Replay value is further boosted by hidden tokens on each level that unlocks all kinds of new challenges that can be played outside the main story mode. These challenges range from completing a level without touching any walls to variations of Space Invaders, Snake and even Minesweeper. None of the mini-games will keep you busy for hours, but the inclusion is a nice touch. The game also has full Steamworks integration with the usual leaderboards, achievements and trading cards.

I played the game using an Xbox 360 controller and found the Quarp Jet to be quite responsive. You can only shoot in one direction, but can launch bombs in the four cardinal directions which are essential for hitting switches behind and to the sides of your craft. To perform a short range teleportation jump you have to hold down the teleport button and then select your destination with a crosshair. Since the screen does not stop scrolling while you are selecting your teleportation point it can make some of the jumps very tricky. Using a mouse instead of a controller analogue stick makes it a bit easier, but it is still a tricky maneuver to perform under high speed. The scroll speed isn’t too fast so this usually only becomes an issue on levels with a tight time limit where you have to make liberal use of your boost button.

The high resolution visuals look nice enough and use a simple, uncluttered style for everything. Bullets are impossible to miss and everything is color coded so you are never in any doubt about which switches to shoot. The only problem is that there is no visual variation between levels, which means that level 50 only differs in layout from level one. Growing up with arcade shooters I am a big fan of pixel art in these types of games so the visual style in Velocity Ultra didn’t really grab me but this is a personal preference. The audio is nice with some tunes that really capture the old school vibe of the genre. Sound effects are also pretty decent with the shattering glass being particularly satisfying.

The puzzle element really helps Velocity Ultra to stand out from the crowd and the game is challenging without being frustrating. As long as you don’t expect a bullet hell shooter and don’t mind exercising your brain more than your trigger finger you will enjoy this game.

*Review originally published December 2013.

System Requirements

  • OS: Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows 8
  • Memory: 2 GB RAM
  • Graphics: NDIVIA GeForce series 512MB, AMD(ATI) Radeon series 512MB
  • Hard Drive: 650 MB available space
  • Sound Card: DirectX compatible

Network: Broadband Internet connection

Related posts

Guilty Gear X

Guilty Gear X

It is a pleasant surprise to see the Guilty Gear series appear on PC and with the right setup this game is a blast to play. Gameplay is solid although the last boss is one of the cheapest I've seen in a while. The lack of a story mode is also a downside but if you like your fighting games deep and don't mind getting your ass kicked then this is the game for you. 2D fighting games doesn't get much better than this on PC. Gameplay: More accessible than the last game but also has a lot of depth if you stick with it. Graphics: It would have been nice if the resolution could be increased but the game still looks good. Sound: Good music but muddy sound effects.

Fly in the House

Fly in the House

Fly In The House is quite fun at first, especially after the recent patch, but anyone looking for more depth than simply hunting down a fly while destroying everything might be disappointed. The amount of destruction you can get up to is impressive, but the overall visual quality is a bit low. Since there are only three environments on offer the game can also feel a bit restrictive. It’s still fun to play in short bursts though, so grab it if you enjoy mindless arcade games. Gameplay: Once the novelty of breaking everything in sight wears off it can be a bit repetitive. Graphics: The destructible scenery is nice, but the texture quality is rather low. Sound: Limited and annoying music, but decent enough sound effects.

Queen’s Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past

Queen's Quest 2: Stories of Forgotten Past

Queen’s Quest 2 features a different lead character than part one, but improves on the original game in all areas. There is a large cast of fairytale and folklore characters to interact with, beautiful hand-drawn locations, plenty of puzzles as well as a variety of hidden object scenes. While the game isn’t very taxing, it remains entertaining throughout and we can certainly recommend it to fans or those who are curious about the genre. Gameplay: Neither the puzzles or hidden object scenes are very difficult, but remain fun. Graphics: Beautiful artwork and plenty of variety. Sound: Decent music and the voice acting isn’t too bad either.

Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

Ultima I: The First Age of Darkness

The Ultima series provided the world with some truly groundbreaking games over the years and it is great to see the humble roots of such an excellent series. This EGA version has been given a new visual coat of paint compared to the monochromatic original, but still looks archaic compared to modern titles. However, the gameplay, although simplistic, can still entertain if you are able to look past the limitations. Whether you want to play it for nostalgic reasons or simply see what all the fuss was about, Ultima 1 should definitely be owned by all retro fans and RPG aficionados. Gameplay: Truly great for its time, but obviously it is very simplistic by modern standards. Graphics: Once again good for its time, but time hasn’t been too kind. Sound: Nothing more than noise.

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

Enigmatis 2: The Mists of Ravenwood

The Mists of Ravenwood is another solid hidden object game from Artifex Mundi, one of the most respected developers in the genre. It takes place after the events of The Ghosts of Maple Creek and features another gripping adventure for the detective protagonist to solve. Improvements, such as the polished visuals and fast travel system, make the game more enjoyable to play while the story remains engaging throughout thanks to the “evidence board” feature. If you are a fan of the genre and enjoyed the original then The Mists of Ravenwood should not be missed. Gameplay: Not too difficult, but remains fun to play all the way through. Graphics: The hand drawn scenes are stylish, detailed and very interesting. Sound: A little too similar to the original for our taste, but the sound effects are great.

Mystik Belle

Mystik Belle

Mystik Belle features an addictive blend of classic platforming, Metroidvania inspired exploration and a healthy dose of point & click adventure style puzzles. The beautiful pixel art visuals are a definite plus and the charming characters as well as varied locations will keep you hooked. The puzzles and limited inventory might not appeal to players looking for a more traditional Metroidvania style platformer, but Mystik Belle is definitely worth checking out. Gameplay: Tons of areas to explore, lots of clever puzzles and some huge bosses to defeat. Graphics: Beautiful pixel art visuals with large, detailed sprites and memorable backgrounds. Sound: Features a catchy chiptune soundtrack.

Leave a comment

15 − 14 =