Curve Studios and Futurlab have created something which is a modern twist on a classic shoot-em-up style, featuring some great art and music that takes you back to the 1980’s.
The opening screen brought back memories of the old Press Start screen that’s synonymous of retro arcade games. When you first start up Velocity Ultra, you’re instantly thrown back in time to arcade classics, the sort which had you moving a little spacecraft around the screen while shooting stuff.
That is the aim of the game, move the ship around while performing certain ‘tasks’ like rescuing survivors, teleporting to otherwise inaccessible areas and eliminating enemies which any retro gamer would feel very at home with.
The challenge behind it all is you have to complete the stage in a certain time, so that you earn a perfect score. The secret to earning the best score is finishing as fast as possible, so you gain bonus XP.
The music may remind some younger gamers of some Mega Drive/Super Nintendo games while older gamers will reminisce even further to ZX Spectrum and Commodore 64 days, this is actually a good thing and only enhances what is excellent gameplay.
The choice to use a gamepad is obvious and very recommended, there are too many keys needed to make keyboard and mouse a viable option. This doesn’t mean Velocity Ultra was purely designed for consoles, it’s all about taking control and enjoying it to its full potential.
While moving around with the left stick or D-pad, the right stick is used for shooting bombs in various directions. The ‘joypad’ is mapped perfectly, you shouldn’t have any problems and if you do, it’s your fault for sucking, not the game.
It’s a very polished game with great visuals, that may seem like a cliché ripped from various other sources and I’ve most likely said it before about other games, what you need to remember about this game is that it’s from Futurlab who aren’t new to the scene and know their stuff.
They recreated the drawings which you see just before you start a level and are amazing, once you’ve ‘unlocked’ the artwork, it becomes available to view through a menu which also contains a version of Minesweeper and more baffling, a calculator. You can check on your progress and see what you have unlocked, some are achievements, some are just in-game bonuses.
It’s very easy to sit back and waste some time in such an immersive game. It’s not just a shooter, some early levels don’t really need you to press a button, you just need quick reflexes and a certain amount of dexterity for when things get really busy. The chiptune style music puts you in the zone and really adds to the experience.
Velocity Ultra – The Verdict
You couldn’t ask for any more. It has the gameplay, the music, the right degree of increasingly difficult levels, the obvious nod to classic retro gaming and just the right amount of addictiveness to have you going back for more. You’re getting something that boxes pound for pound, plenty of bang for your buck, extreme value for money.
Eye-popping detail mixed with an excruciatingly impressive control system just oozes quality from Velocity Ultra. With 50 levels, you’re going to have plenty to play, with lots to achieve for the hardcore gamer. That’s right, this ain’t no casual game to pick up whenever you feel like it, if you’re going to play it, be prepared for a good session.