Velocity Ultra – Review (PC)

Velocity Ultra is a shoot ’em up created by FuturLab, a small company that has been making games since 2007. They got their break when Sony gave them a chance to create games for the Playstation, the PSP and the Vita. Velocity Ultra is a high-definition remake of the game, Velocity that was released on the PSP. The Game includes numerous new features and the graphics have been completely reworked to take advantage of PS Vita’s crisp OLED screen.

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This isn’t a review for Velocity on the Vita, however, we will be checking out the PC version of the game to see how it holds up against its cross-platform brethren. To nobody’s sur[rise, it holds up very well.

In Velocity Ultra you fly a Quarp jet, a fast-moving, fast-firing space jet that can teleport. Most SHMUP games base their entire livelihood and success on explosions, upgrades, and just covering the screen in lasers and bad guys. Velocity Ultra throws in a puzzle-solving element. There are still bad guys you can blow up, but you need to be smart about how you fight hem, and at times you may not need to fight them at all.

The Quarp jet is capable of many different abilities, testing your skills to the highest degree. You can teleport in and out of danger, sometimes right into it. You can fire bombs that can clear pathways through enemies or open a new way through a maze. Maybe there is an intersection you need to come back to? You had better set down a beacon so you can come back to it. Now do this with a boost and with extended lasers to fight enemies, and you quickly find yourself using many keys on the keyboard, or using almost all the buttons on a gamepad.

The maps in Velocity Ultra are almost as dangerous as the enemies and at times even more so. Force fields, turrets, or an overextended teleport will leave you restarting over and over again.. There are security fields which must be turned off with destroyable  breakers that are numbered, a single misstep and they all reset. To make matters worse the Zetachron, the main villains in the game, are a constant threat in most maps.

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The music and sound effects in Velocity Ultra are great, constantly pulling you in and at times we just idled on the main menu letting the music play as we tried to relax our hard-pressed fingers. The artwork is by no means bad, each cutaway sequence is detailed and extremely well-done. The visuals in-game are not the best; by level twenty you’ve pretty much seen every background and enemy skin.

Velocity Ultra doesn’t just have a single-player campaign though. There are mini-games and challenges you find with ‘secrets’  in each map. So there aren’t just fifty maps to play, you can easily find dozens of extended game modes.

The only area the game falls short in is the options menu.Players can choose to turn off the left analogue stick or change the volume levels. We expect more flexibility from a PC game.

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At £6.49 Velocity Ultra is great value The game offers hours of content and action. It brings something new to the SHMUP genre  and shines a light on how long the genre has been in stasis. Velocity Ultra sets a new standard and raises the bar just a bit higher.  It is a game capable of great things and the team at FuturLabs are already thinking of where to take the series next . If Velocity Ultra is any indication we’ll soon be expecting bigger and better shoot ’em up titles that are more than just pretty explosions and anime girls screaming about more waves of enemies. We should already expect better and Velocity Ultra hits that point home with its many exciting new discoveries.