Thursday, September 11, 2014

PC Review #107: Velocibox

Title: Velocibox
Developer:Shawn Beck
Platforms: PC, Mac
Price: $4.99
When you break down twitch games to their base elements, they tend to revolve around the same basic concepts: fast gameplay, and dodging things at high speeds. Some excel in their simplicity, like the classic flash game Vector Runner or the more recent Super Hexagon, while others add more complexity, such as Pivvot, Wave Wave, and Duet. Point is, that since the core elements are generally similar, it takes something more, something exceptional for games in the genre to stand out. Velocibox is one of those games, and it's perhaps the most addictive twitch game I've played since Super Hexagon.
Expanded and improved from an entry for the current "Connected Worlds" Ludum Dare, Velocibox is unforgiving. In fact there aren't any checkpoints, when you fail (and you will), you start over from the first stage. Initially, I disliked this lack of checkpoints, but once I played more, I came to appreciate how the game was set up. Success relies on practice, learning the quirks and obstacles of each stage and surmounting them. It's more than twitch reflex but also adaption and gradual improvement, not just "one more go" but "I know these obstacles. I can do better". It's incredibly satisfying to race through stages that had defeated you countless times before.
But what makes Velocibox exceptional, because that's a pretty strong word? Well, it's more that all the game's aspects merge into a excellent whole rather than any individual element. It's the sense of speed, the feeling of racing forward at some extreme velocity, blasting off from stage one without a moment to catch your breath. It's the gravity-defying gameplay, as you flip between floor and ceiling and ride the walls. It's how the gravity flip mechanic opens the door for a wide variety of obstacles that wouldn't be possible in other twitch games, forcing you to deftly maneuver around and across all sides of these corridors. It's the vibrant visuals and effects, the great music, the no-frills presentation that lets you jump into the action in seconds.
I've only reached stage four out of nine, and beating the initial nine stages unlocks an even more insane Super Velocibox mode, so there's a hefty amount of content here. Velocibox is an easy recommendation for fans of the genre. You can purchase the game on Steam.

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