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Velocity 2X Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . As a sequel, Velocity 2X does a great job of expanding on the ideas of the original. As both an overhead shoot-em-up and side-scrolling action game, FuturLab's newest title seems to do it all. Unfortunately, constantly switching perspectives ultimately hurts the pacing and sometimes felt like filler. If you can get beyond that minor complaint, you'll discover that Velocity 2X is an immediately addictive shooter with a lot of replay value. Rating: 78%
Velocity 2X
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  • Review Score:

  • B+
To be a great 2D shoot-em-up, you need to have more than good graphics and fast-paced action. It's not enough to simply recycle the tropes we've seen countless times over the last thirty years; a great shooter requires at least one gameplay mechanic brand new to the genre. R-Type had the detachable pod, Ikaruga had players switching between light and dark, and when FuturLab released Velocity on the PSP, they created a fast moving ship that could teleport at the touch of a button.

Two years after introducing us to the Quarp Jet, FuturLab is back with the much anticipated sequel -- Velocity 2X. This PlayStation 4 and PS Vita shooter picks up right where the first game (and its remake, Velocity Ultra) left off. Lt. Kai Tana finds herself captured by an evil alien species known as the Vokh, and she'll need to use all of her flying skills in order to get back to the safety of Earth.

Velocity 2X (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Much like the first game, Velocity 2X is an overhead shooter that allows players to warp all over the screen. Not only is this mechanic useful when wanting to avoid a barrage of bullets, but also when our hero needs to fly through walls and travel to areas guarded by obstacles. Best of all, warping around the screen couldn't be easier. On PlayStation 4, players hold the Square button in order to bring up the warp cursor. It's even easier on the PS Vita, where all you need to do is tap the touchscreen.

Beyond warping short distances, Lt. Kai Tana is also able to drop beacons that allow for long-distance teleportation. This is important, as many of the 50 stages will require players to work their way through labyrinthine designs. Each level largely plays out the same way, with our hero destroying numbered locks in order. And because there are many diverging paths, players will need to warp all around the stage in order to destroy every lock and make their way to the next stage.

But simply being a great pilot won't be enough beat Velocity 2X. In a first for the series, this sequel introduces brand new side-scrolling action sections that have Lt. Kai Tana doing her best Contra impression. These on-foot sections start out action-focused, featuring plenty of jumping and dual-stick shooting. However, it doesn't take long for the game to introduce a series of tricky side-scrolling puzzles that will test both your mind and reflexes.

Velocity 2X (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Regardless of whether it's the on-foot sections or the usual overhead shoot-em-up bits, the developers do a good job of introducing new elements from one stage to the next. I was especially impressed with the way the on-foot puzzles evolved, even employing its own unique version of teleportation. The game makes the most out of its unique premise, to the point where I began to wonder if there's anything left for FuturLab to do to complete the Velocity trilogy.

Although Velocity 2X is a solid action game that every shoot-em-up fan should experience, it's not without a few problems. While I enjoyed both the overhead shooting action and on-foot sections, I found that constantly switching between them ultimately hurt the pacing. It doesn't help that nearly every stage has at least two or three of these side-scrolling action bits. Even when they introduced new elements, there were so many of these areas that they began to feel like filler.

I also wish the levels were more diverse. Don't get me wrong, the game spans an impressive amount of area, including space station 705, the alien world of Altranda, the Ice Moons of Rokunia and a paradise planet named Tiracas. But as unique as these stages are, they all present the same kinds of mazes. At times it felt like the backgrounds were completely inconsequential, and I doubt anybody will remember where each stage took place. It would have been nice to have Tiracas feel radically different from the stages in Altranda.

Velocity 2X (PS Vita)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Much like the original game, the fun of Velocity 2X comes in trying to beat your high scores. Each stage has a set amount of crystals to pick up and characters to rescue, and it's up to you to complete all of the tasks as fast as humanly possible. Players can speed the game up by holding the right trigger, and remember to kill everything in the stage to earn an even higher score. All this is much trickier than it sounds, especially when it comes to the later stages. The game also features an online leaderboard, allowing players to see how they stack up against their friends (and the world).

While never as flashy as Sine Mora, I'm a fan of the comic book-influenced art style. Although there aren't a bunch of eye-catching 3D effects on display, we are privy to a lot of cool looking explosions and a truly compelling storyline. And since you can respawn an unlimited amount of times, Velocity 2X is perfect for people who are normally turned off by the extreme difficulty of traditional shoot-em-ups.

Velocity 2X may not be the best game of the year, as the developer boasted a few months ago, but it is an immediately addictive shoot-em-up with a treasure trove of great ideas. Unfortunately, constantly switching between overhead shooting and side-scrolling on-foot action ultimately hurts the pacing of an otherwise great sequel.
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