Frantic space action at its finest.
If it were up to me, we wouldn’t segment eras of games into merely ‘retro’ or ‘modern’. It would still fall into two camps, though, but something a little more like: the time before Velocity 2X was released and then the time after. How can a game warrant such high praise? Simply because once you’ve dived into the frantic, pulse-pounding shoot ‘em up action FuturLab’s game so expertly provides, you won’t be able to deny that what’s on display here can only categorised as a stone cold classic.
The Switch version of Velocity 2X packs one hell of a punch. At its core, the game is a riff on the old top-down space shooter games of old – albeit with a few tweaks packed in. Those tweaks however, in this case, elevate this concept into something far greater. Rather than simply captaining a ship tasked with blasting away as many enemies as possible, you’re given the ability to blip and boost throughout 50 ever-scrolling levels. All these abilities combine to place you in full control of the action, outright testing your dexterity, manoeuvring ability and reaction times.
Velocity 2X sees you step into the shoes of Lt. Kai Tana, an amnesia-afflicted space captain in search of her past. There’s a surface-level story here that centers on her attempt to make it back home and break free from the control of an outside alien force, but this is all secondary to the bombastic and fast-paced gameplay at its core. It would have been nice for Nintendo fans to get the first Velocity game in this package, but they shouldn’t think they are missing out – rest easy knowing that you can jump in and enjoy this slick, space-action shooter. Velocity 2X is a more fully-formed experience than the first in every way.
When played from a top-down perspective in your ship or in any one of the handful of side-scrolling missions that play out on foot, Velocity 2X places emphasis on getting you to move fast; gathering pods and destroying enemies while making it from one end of the level to the other in the best possible time. All this sounds very simple from the outset, but by the time Velocity 2X has slowly unveiled most of the tricks it has in store, only then can you start learning levels and perfect the nimbleness required to achieve the highest score. This is a tempting prospect to fall into, as levels never outstay their welcome and are easily restarted.
I’d be remiss to not talk about Velocity 2X’s kinetic soundtrack: an outright feast for the ears that is best listened to in handheld mode, with headphones, in the heat of a bombastic run. As with a lot of future-set games the music is primarily synthy – but here it helps you to fall into the required flow of the flow generated, and not just simply superficial set dressing.
Twitch arcade-style shooters like Velocity 2X are a dime a dozen these days, and part of me wants to think that it’s because Futurelab’s second outing with the format proved too perfect. If you’re craving a challenge that is frantic but fair, with a rhythm and flow that rewards time dedicated to honing your skills, there’s simply nothing else out there like Velocity 2X. It’s simply a crucial addition to every Switch player’s game catalogue.