Velocity is unlike any of the other minis available on the PlayStation Store. From the outside, it seems like another run-of-the-mill vertical shooter, but in reality it’s so much more. Combining puzzle and strategy elements with retro influences and styling, Velocity is jam-packed with content for its very modest price-tag of just £3.99 (free to PS+ subscribers.)
From the moment you start playing Velocity, it’s immediately apparent that the game is heavily influenced visually from 80’s gaming classics such as Galaga, Space Invaders and Metroid. The music is equally 80s-inspired, using a mashup of chip tunes and modern electronic music to provide a distinctive soundtrack which works especially well in conjunction with the gameplay.
Velocity is part puzzler, part shooter. With an emphasis on boosting your way through levels, in order to meet target times, gameplay involves fighting off aliens and blowing up defence turrets over the course of 50 levels. Multiple mechanics add complexity to the levels, including warp pods which allow you to come back to designated check points later in the level and teleports allowing you to get past obstacles such as walls that block your path.
It takes a while to get used to teleporting, particularly when boosting through a level as it can often cause you to overshoot and end up running straight into an enemy and dying. Luckily, to combat the likelihood of teleporting straight into another wall, Velocity doesn’t cause ship damage if you hit walls. Like any vertical shooter, however, the screen scrolls upwards at all times so If you do get caught at the bottom of the screen you will die.
Velocity’s story mode uses a XP system to unlock more levels, with XP given for how many survivors you can rescue, how fast you complete the level, and your overall score. In turn, this lowers the barrier of entry and makes many of the levels easily accessible independent of your skill level, or without losing the compulsiveness of trying to achieve a perfect score in every level.
Hidden trophies are scattered throughout the 50 levels and can usually be obtained by teleporting to them. When a trophy has been found and the level completed, a new extra level is unlocked in the Flight Computer which is accessible from the Main Menu. These extra levels often push your Velocity skills to the test with much more difficult challenges to complete in very short time frames.
The Flight Computer also allows access to a multitude of content ranging from medals you’ve obtained throughout the course of playing the game, to art work and even a miniature version of Minesweeper for you to try and beat.
Despite being ridiculously cheap for three different versions of the game (PS3/PSP/PS Vita), Velocity is full of content, great ideas and creative level design. The graphics, music and increasing difficulty and challenge make it a joy to play. It’s also every completionists dream with tons of unlockable content and collectibles, though it shouldn’t frighten off casual gamers due to its instant pick-up-and-play appeal. Velocity is one of the very few must-buy minis and anyone with a PSP or Vita should buy it.