Velocity is hands-down the best PlayStation mini I’ve experienced. Any fan of space-shooters or even of action games in general should strongly consider it.
Velocity took a genre that I had thought done-to-death and revitalized it with highly innovative mechanics. You unlock them as you play through the first half of the game’s 50 levels, and they are:
- Hold R to scroll the screen more quickly. All levels scroll vertically upward, but this lets you increase the scroll speed. Some levels have a short time-limit, requiring you to boost most of the way through.
- Hold Square to move a reticle for teleporting. Used to bypass obstacles, jump over a swarm of enemies, etc.
- Press Circle to launch a bomb in the direction you last moved. Used for destructible obstacles and to decimate static enemies or tight groups of moving enemies.
- Press Triangle to drop a telepod. At any point, you can press L to bring up a map of the level, then move the cursor between telepods, letting you jump back to an earlier part of the level. Necessary when splits occur in a level. Telepods are limited to a certain number per level.
Further complicating matters are color-coded security systems. Each one generates an instant-death laser field, and can only be disabled by attacking numbered switches in order. Telepods often come in to play with these, requiring you to backtrack in a level in order to trigger switches that you passed up earlier.
The point of all this is that a star has gone black-hole and is eating up your employer’s mining operations. You must navigate the Quarp Jet through collapsed levels, rescuing miners and scientists stranded in escape capsules. You need to grab a minimum number of capsules in each level.
One nice feature Velocity has that most space-shooters don’t is that you can run into walls without taking damage. That was an excellent design choice, because with all the speed-scrolling, teleporting, and narrow corridors, the game would be nearly impossible otherwise. Also, your ship has a life meter, so you can take several hits before dying, and you can even refill your health via in-level items.
The game also has a bumpin’ soundtrack. It’s impressive for a space-shooter in general, let alone a mini. Oddly, it will sometimes cut out between levels, but it’s always there when you’re actually playing.
My only real complaint about the game, and this is kind of a big one, is that difficulty is forced towards the end. You get experience (XP) based on how well you do in a level, and each level has a minimum XP requirement in order to play it, meaning you will eventually have to go back and play prior levels to get more XP before being able to beat the game. I was disheartened to see this, because otherwise you could make your own difficulty on the fly by being content with Bronze or Silver on a level, but as it is, you’ll have to revisit levels to get Gold and additional XP.
Even with forced-difficulty, this is a stellar title. Between the 50 levels, unlockable missions, a Minesweeper-type game, and the cheat codes and numerous other extra goodies, you’ll get a lot of top-notch entertainment for your money.
|Originality||10||Fresh mechanics completely revitalize this overdone genre.|
|Fun||10||Those same new mechanics make this game a blast.|
|Pacing||10||Try to remember to blink and breathe.|
|Style||10||Excellent graphics for a mini.|
|Polish||9||Besides the occasional music cutout between levels, solid.|
|Design||7||The forced-difficulty is a big downer. Otherwise, excellent.|
|Story||7||Average for a space-shooter.|
|Mileage||10||Plenty for the dough.|
|Mood||9||Nostalgic and fresh at the same time. Great soundtrack.|
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About the Author
|Markham Asylum is a founding member of Delta Attack. His tier-1 favorite genres are role-playing, puzzle, and strategy. His tier-2 are adventure, shooter, and platformer. He strives to provide spoiler-free postings whenever possible.
Markham Asylum has written 399 posts on Delta Attack.