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

Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD

Nelly Cootalot: Spoonbeaks Ahoy! HD

Whether you already played The Fowl Fleet or fondly remember Nelly Cootalot from the freeware version, you definitely don't want to miss out on this HD revival of Spoonbeaks Ahoy! It's a charming point & click adventure with a wonderful protagonist and a cast of interesting characters. The humor is still great and while the game is very short, it is also very cheap and all revenue goes to a good cause, so there is no reason to miss out if you are a fan of the genre. Gameplay: Short, but amusing and entertaining. Graphics: The HD upgrade looks good, but the visuals are still very simple. Sound: The soundtrack is decent and the voice acting much better than what we expected.

Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Vertical Drop Heroes HD

Vertical Drop Heroes HD is simple enough that you can instantly jump in and have fun for a few minutes, but addictive enough to keep you hooked for hours. All the procedural elements keep things interesting and there are tons of skills as well as traits to unlock. The game offers a lot of value for money and will keep you coming back again and again for "just one more go." Gameplay: Simple, but very addictive. Graphics: Cartoonish visuals with some nice 2-D artwork. Sound: Catchy tunes.

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura: Estival Versus

Senran Kagura Estival Versus offers an impressive amount of fanservice mixed up with some solid hack and slash combat. The game does have its fair share of questionable elements, but it certainly doesn’t skimp on content. There is a meaty story mode to complete, along with plenty of side missions, while the money you earn can be spent on clothing and accessories for the girls. Like most hack and slash games it can get a little repetitive, but despite the large cast none of the girls feel alike in personality or fighting style. If you are a fan of the series or enjoy fighting games, this comes highly recommended, as long as you realize you are going to get bombarded by fanservice around every turn. Gameplay: Features plenty of content and a learning curve that eases you into the various combos and attacks you can pull off. Graphics: Looks great on PC and the detail as well as animations are impressive. Sound: Full Japanese voice acting for all the girls and a funky soundtrack that complements the action nicely.

Dishonored

Dishonored

Step into the stealthy boots of a master assassin and eliminate your foes through violence or cunning in this immersive first-person title. Eliminating your enemies with deadly gadgets or supernatural powers is a blast, but playing as a silent shadow that is never seen is arguable even more fun. Dishonored might not have the most original storyline, but the amount of freedom it gives players makes for a very memorable experience. Gameplay: There is a lot of freedom to be as violent or stealthy as you wish. Graphics: Great art style and plenty of attention to detail. Sound: Stellar voice acting despite some repetition.

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime

Pixel Puzzles 2: Anime packs the same innovations introduced by the previous entry in the series, such as rotating puzzle pieces and a sorting tray, but with a brand new theme. The anime illustrations are not only beautiful and colorful, but also a lot of fun to assemble which makes for an addictive experience. The annoying little crabs are also gone, but have been replaced by an equally annoying Pixel Fairy. Gameplay: Challenging and very addictive. Graphics: The new anime themed illustrations are beautiful. Sounds: The music is nice and mellow, but the fairy can become very annoying.

Contrast

Contrast

The visual style is what drew me to Contrast but the clever puzzles and wonderful atmosphere is what kept me playing. Each new location was genuinely interesting to explore and the concept of switching between 3D and 2D planes mean you have to think out of the box sometimes. The latest patch fixed most of the launch issues and the result is an entertaining and memorable experience. Gameplay: Switching between 3D and 2D to solve puzzles is a unique and interesting twist. Graphics: The locations are larger than life and very memorable. Sound: Great voice acting and a stellar soundtrack.

Leave a comment

5 × 5 =