Velocity has been out for PS Plus owners for the last couple of weeks, now its time for the rest of us to get our hands on it with today's PSN update. And I strongly recommend you do get hold of it. It is not just a vertical (and often laterally) scrolling shoot 'em up, its a bundle of imagination and cunning thrown into a wizard's hat and mixed with the finest shooting ingredients.
From the smallest details, i.e., every level has a name taken from somewhere in physics or sci-fi lore, to the core mechanics, with multiple objectives and levels of achievement to keep you replaying levels, Velocity adds so much, its almost unfair on other shooters coming out flogging their old-school wares.
Each level completed gives you some experience, which opens up further levels, out of the 50 on offer. The first couple helpfully explain the extra mechanics the game offers, boosting (right trigger) teleporting (Square button) to other areas of the level, launching missiles in the right directions, destroying structures and so on. You get medals for speed, a rating for rescues and experience based on your score.
With that out the way, you launch into each level again and again, trying to destroy all the aliens, rescue the survivors and so on. You won't have much time to enjoy the scenery, which in its 8- to 16-bit aesthetic is pretty rudimentary, but gets the job of framing the levels done. Even then, keep an eye out for cute little details.
The enemy craft are also rather old school and follow almost Galaga-esque wave patterns, but their fire power and ferocity soon ramps up to offer a stiff challenge, with cleverly placed turrets to force you into the fight. All of this is soundtracked by a cracking pacey ambient dance anthem, and each level has checkpoints so you don't get that back-to-the-start sinking feeling.
If you need a break from the main action, the game also lets you shoot your way through the credits, play a game of Minesweeper (via the Flight Computer where other unlockable games appear), enter cheats in the Calculator and browse through all the great pre-level art. All of these fantastic touches make the game so enjoyable, offer so much replay value and challenge, that, while it can't touch the visual delights of Xenon II or Ikaruga, it'll instantly win a place in your heart. Oh, and remember to follow Lt. Kai Tana on Twitter, for the latest on the game.
Played on PS Vita, also runs on PSP and PS3
Progress: In the teens
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