Velocibox Review

2015-09-21-021824

 

Title: Velocibox
Developer: Shawn Beck
Game Type: PlayStation Vita
Download: 67 MB
NA Availability: 
Digital Download

EU Availability: Digital Download
PSTV Support: Yes

The runner genre has been around in full force since the release of games like Temple Run on Mobile back in 2011.  Since then, the genre has been evolving both on Mobile and other systems.  The PS Vita has had a few runners at its disposal from games like Race the Sun, Run like Hell, and Run Sackboy Run.  With the months going by, more and more runners are releasing into the gaming world, both for Mobile users as well as Handheld/Console users.

Past the running genre has been the cross into 3D runners.  Many runners are side-scrollers but every so often, the world is introduced to 3D runners where you’re moving forward instead of side-to-side.  Some of the most prominent of these games are Sonic Dash on Mobile and Windows, and Race the Sun on Steam as well as PlayStation consoles.  These games add new depth to the running genre past the initial simple Mobile experiences.

Last week, a new runner came over to the PlayStation the world in the form of a simple game that can turn into a vast and deep experience for those willing to take the challenge.  Without further delay, here is my review of the challenging 3D runner, Velocibox!

Story

Due to this game not having a plot, this section shall remain blank.

Gameplay

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Velocibox is a 3D runner revolving around collecting items while avoiding various objects around a room-like tunnel environment.  While you’re not actually running since your character is a box that is sliding through the arena, all of the gameplay shows that it is, indeed, a 3D endless runner.

When you play the game, your goal will be to collect a certain number of items in the level in order to pass to the next level, and keep this pattern going until you clear the entire game.  The main gist of this is that you can move along any of the 4 walls and change your perspective accordingly, as well as jumping to ignore gravity and move to the wall directly above you.  This is mostly used for moving into place or avoiding obstacles.

Dodging obstacles is going to be your biggest focus as you play through the game.  If you’ve ever played Velocibox before or have a friend whom has played it, they will tell you that the game is tough, and it is.  There are obstacles thrown at you every which way as you play through the game and hitting just one obstacle will make you restart the stage.  The nice part about this is that each stage can be completed in under a minute, if you know what you’re doing.  But to dodge obstacles, you will be constantly moving, jumping, and more to be able to survive.

The way you progress is by passing one level and moving into the next.  Whenever you unlock a new level, you can begin from that level from the Main Menu.  That way, you don’t have to go through Levels 1, 2, and 3 all over again just to try to pass Level 4.  You can just start from Level 4 and go from there.  With the heightened difficulty of the game, this feature will be a blessing to anyone playing the game.

Speaking of difficulty, let me just say that this is the hardest endless runner you will ever play.  There are obstacles in each stage, but the biggest thing to remember is that the game has a very fast-paced progression.  When you’re thrown into a stage, you will be thrown in at a random point and will need precise timing and movement to get around the obstacles to clear even a single level to get to the next.

The secret of the difficulty, though, is trial-and-error.  As you play through each level over and over again, you will learn to remember the layout of each stage.  Even though you spawn at a random place, knowing the stage will make it easier to position yourself and time your movements to get through.  When I first played and beat Level 1, it was a nightmare for me and I was on the edge of my seat every time I almost beat it, but now I can normally get a good bit through, if not all the way through without a huge amount of trouble.  You have to stay on your toes, but the more you play, the more doable the game becomes.

More on the difficulty.  It is the most difficult Vita game I’ve ever played and if you’re not a patient gamer, you will want to snap your Vita in two after playing through even a few minutes of this game.  It’s hard, and feels like a great accomplishment just to get through the game, from start to finish, with a much-deserved jaw-dropping moment when the game tells you there’s an even harder difficulty to play.  I’ve seen other review sites give up and not even bother to finish the game before they write their review because their patience runs dry.

The game also has network features in the form of Leaderboards for Ranked games, where you play levels into one another without pausing.  With this, you can see top Ranked scores online in total or with your PSN Friends.  Only problem with this is the game sometimes won’t load the leaderboards and instead will connect to PSN and just re-load the main menu.

If you know exactly what you’re doing, the game’s 8 levels can be beaten in less than 5 minutes.  However, with the amount of difficulty and precision involved, it will likely take you several hours to be able to pass through the 8 main levels to beat the game and unlock Hard Mode.  I believe I did fairly well throughout the game, and it took me over 600 attempts to pass through the game’s main 8 levels.  That’s roughly 75-80 attempts per level, before trying to tackle Hard Mode.

Controls

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Despite the game’s heightened difficulty, it’s got a very simple way of playing the game.  The Vita version doesn’t have any touch controls at its disposal, and the controls do not change when you move from the handheld to the PlayStation TV.

Moving to the left and right is done with the D-Pad and the Left Analog Stick, though I’ve found the D-Pad to be more precise and proper for this game’s precision.  The only other control at your disposal is using the X button to jump.  Circle can be used in menus, but in each stage, you’ll only be moving and jumping, so you don’t have to worry about a lot of extensive controls.

Presentation

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The visual presentation of the game isn’t bad.  The visuals are very colorful, but if you look closely, you can tell a lot of the models have a fair amount of jagged edges on them, which is a lot less smoothed out than the PS4 or Steam versions of the game.  It’s not something that will hamper your gaming experience, but it’s something very noticeable once you start comparing screenshots, considering its simple graphical style.

The main issues with the presentation are glitches that are thrown into the game.  First of all, the audio glitches in many levels.  When you start a level, the narration is supposed to say something like “Level 5, Begin” and in a lot of cases, I’ve found that the game cuts that voice off halfway through.  At first, I thought it was a one-time thing, but as I replayed stages over and over again, I found that it happened almost every time I played those stages.

The other glitch worth noting is a gameplay glitch.  When I would play the game for so long or go into certain stages for so long, obstacles and items would begin passing through me, as if they weren’t even there.  This worked to my advantage at some points, where I could pass through some obstacles without worrying about getting a Game Over, but it later affected items needed to pass the level as well, requiring me to restart the game to reset this glitch.

Summary

Velocibox is a 3D runner proper for the “Velocity” part of its name.  Past a few glitches with the presentation and leaderboards, it is a competent port of the Steam version, and a fine addition for any challenge-seeker.   

7/10

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