If you have played video games for as many years as I have, you have undoubtedly been in “the zone” at some point. You become one with whatever game you are playing, establishing a rhythm that just feels natural. Every button press becomes second nature. You know what to do before it’s even apparent that it should be done. Velocity 2X is designed with the singular goal of chasing that moment. Yeah, there is a story to be told. There are collectibles to find and enemies to kill. But the REAL point of the game is reaching that place. And it feels great when you arrive.
Velocity 2X tells the story of Lieutenant Kai Tana, who was rescued by an alien race from certain death upon the conclusion of the prior title. The Vokh saved her life in order to study her and her Quarp Jet, but she escapes. She sets out to turn the tables on the Vokh after meeting Rajan, a Vokh slave. The story is told through animated stills, and it’s surprisingly effective much to my delight. There are also diary entries you can unlock that give you a peek into Kai’s mind throughout the game.
Velocity 2X merges the traditional scrolling shoot em up experience with some side scrolling exploration, and the marriage works very well. This game is about speed first and foremost, and the level design is great at allowing you to move at a breakneck pace. During the Quarp Jet sequences, you can teleport at any time with the square button. This allows you to move through walls at top speed, creating opportunities to move through entire levels without stopping. I wholly expected the side scrolling levels to change the pace, but that’s not the case. The teleport mechanic is still available on foot, so clean runs are still very much in play. I’m not as big a fan of the telepod teleportation, which allows you to drop a pod that you can jump back to at any moment. It’s strictly used for backtracking, and some later levels go overboard with it. Thankfully it works better when you leave the ship.
The combat in this game is very simplistic. Enemies don’t put up much of a fight, save for the Vokh themselves. The fact that you can spam grenades makes things simple as well. However, the boss battles are very well done. They are clever in how they make you use all of the game’s mechanics. I’m a fan of that approach, as opposed to making them a simple dodge and shoot affair. I do wish there were a couple more of them, but it’s not a big deal.
Futurlab also did a great job with the difficulty. The game is very easy to beat, and very difficult to master. You have unlimited lives (even on bosses) so the only thing in your way is the timer. Chasing that elusive perfect rank on each level will not be easy though. You’ll have to memorize each level until you know it intimately. Then you’ll have to make a mad dash through it while collecting everything AND keeping yourself alive. It’s difficult, but it’s fun and rewarding. It’s…..the point.
I shouldn’t be surprised that a game titled Velocity is centered around speed. Futurlab managed to take two types of games and unite them with a common goal. Velocity 2X is all about pushing ahead as efficiently as possible, and the journey towards that efficiency is a pleasant one. There is something here for casual gamers to enjoy, and dedicated gamers to strive for. Futurlab really hit the mark on this one, and I definitely recommend everyone check it out. Now hurry up. The clock’s ticking.