Two years ago I booted up a PS Mini I’d never heard of called “Velocity”. What followed were several hours of amazement as this little game totally absorbed me with its compelling gameplay and thumping soundtrack. “This would be perfect for Vita!” many of you cried, and your wish was granted with a Vita specific shiny new makeover. Now a HD version is hitting the PS3 – are you ready to pilot the Quarp Jet again?
First off, a little recap for those who are unfamiliar with the game. Velocity is a top-down space shooter with a difference. In terms of story, Vilio, the “beating heart of the Toron nebula”, has exploded, becoming a red giant. This caused a galaxy wide electromagnetic pulse which disabled all mining ships, colony vessels and Special Forces fighters. These ships are essentially stranded, relying on fossil fuels to survive.
A rescue mission has been sent out, but it will take ten months to reach the ships. What those stranded don’t know is that Vilio has begun to collapse in on itself, forming a black hole. All hope is not lost, as an experimental “Quarp Jet” is in development, which allows teleportation. This ability means that the jet can reach the other ships in time. As a test pilot it’s your job to take the Quarp Jet to Vilio, fend off scavenger attacks and rescue survivors.
The overall goal of Velocity’s 50 relatively bite-sized levels is to collect as many survivor pods as you can, as fast as possible. Each level features several areas in which you are assessed, such as survivor pods rescued and how long it took to complete the level. You are graded on how well you have performed, with medals and XP points being awarded.
Fairly quickly you are introduced to the game’s main hook; pressing the square button brings up an aiming reticule, which you can move, and when the button is released the jet will teleport to that area. It’s such a simple idea, and one that throws the game wide open in terms of how the player approaches levels.
So, what’s changed for the PS3 version of the game? Well, not too much, although that’s not a bad thing. Obviously there’s the HD artwork, which looks lovely on a big TV, while the sound effects and music have been rebalanced to suit a TV as well, and both R triggers can be used to activate the boost.
The controls are silky smooth, although you’d expect that as the original mini was on the PS3. My personal preference though is still playing the game on the Vita. Not that there’s anything wrong with the PS3 version (at all!), but it just fits and feels better on Sony’s handheld.
If you missed out on the mini, and don’t have a Vita, I really do urge you to give Velocity Ultra a go on PS3. I still stand by my original 10/10 review – the game is an absolute masterpiece, so get in now and sample it before the sequel hits next year.