Velocity Ultra Review

Velocity Ultra Logo

Velocity Ultra Logo

Developer: FuturLab, Curve Studios
Publisher: Curve Studios
Platform: PSN – PS3, Vita PC – Steam

Velocity was a lovely little shooter that launched on PS3 and Vita in 2012 to favorable reviews but it seemed that many gamers simply missed out on it. Velocity Ultra is basically the same game, but given a nice HD coat of paint. Now that I’ve finally played it, I’m amazed to how the original game ever managed to slip under the radar of so many.

Velocity Ultra is a scrolling sci-fi shooter but does many things to make it a far more engaging experience than most. Your ship comes with a host of features that are introduced one by one. First, you have the ability to speed boost at will which comes in handy when you need to blast through a stage. There is also an unlimited supply of bombs to help you shoot down or to the side (as with most traditional ships which can’t shoot in any direction but up). Another neat feature is the ability to teleport around. Not only can this get you out of a tight spot between bullets, but it is also necessary when obstacles get in the way.

These might not sound like groundbreaking changes but they come together in such a way that the game is tremendously fun. Although there are no difficulty selections, it really feels like Velocity Ultra caters to a wide audience. Shooter newbies as well as regular players could likely both enjoy it. But what about people who don’t necessarily dig the genre? Even then, the game offers up ways to change the standard formula.

Velocity Ultra Screenshot 1

Gameplay modes vary from stage to stage but sometimes the game suddenly becomes a puzzler. This is done via numbered gates that need to be hit in order to “unlock” an area. However, branching paths make it so you can rarely unlock a zone in one go. Instead, you have to put down a warp (or series of them) in order to return to forks and travel down different paths. Sometimes, paths are nearly hidden by being way off to the side of the screen. Not only do you have to contend with enemies but you must discover all gates!

Despite being only an average shooter fan, I was able to blast through the first forty stages with little issue. After that, you’ve got to return to previous levels to rack up more points to have enough for the last few. The fifty stages are excellent and offer a great deal of replay value. You can compete with yourself to try and get a gold medal time, save all survivors, or destroy all enemy waves for bonuses. Of course, you can also try climbing the ranks of the online leaderboard.

Although Velocity Ultra is entertaining enough just from a gameplay standpoint, the rest of the package blends together wonderfully. For one, the visuals look crisp and stylish. The music is in a whole other league together, with each track being extremely cool and fun to listen to. Personally, I’m fighting the urge to buy the soundtrack! The only downside to the music is that it doesn’t loop, meaning there are moments where no music plays at all before restarting again.

Velocity Ultra Screenshot 2

For all this glowing adoration, there were a few issues lurking on the sidelines. At times, I would warp into a wall (though you’re not supposed to). It’s easy enough to warp back out, but it would always freak me out and cost precious time. Also, it feels like the screen isn’t offering enough vertical space to see what’s coming next. For a vertically scrolling shooter to not have a standard vertically oriented screen is fairly alien to me, although it was probably done to benefit the lateral searching on some stages. Finally, the game is designed with controllers in mind so watch out if you want to play with keyboard.

Velocity Ultra is such a fun game it’s hard to knock it too much. The developers managed to create a shooter that isn’t just fun for genre fans but for new players as well. Anyone looking for a different sort of shooter will find what they’re looking for in Velocity Ultra.

Score: 4

4 out of 5 alpacas

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