Developer: FuturLab, Curve Studio (PC Port)
Release Date: July 2nd, 2013 (Vita), November 12th, 2013 (Ps3), December 12th, 2013 (PC)
Available on: PC, Playstation 3, Playstation Vita
Reviewer’s note: I played this game on the Playstation Vita. There may be differences between versions.
At some point when I wasn’t really paying attention Sony started the Playstation Mini program. Serving as a quick and easy way for indie devs to get their game on the Playstation consoles it was mostly forgotten about. One major success of the program was 2012’s Velocity: a fast-paced SHMUP that let you teleport around the field to rescue civilians and dodge enemies. Now the game has been remade and put up on the store proper, and it’s better than ever.
Velocity Ultra puts you in the role of a pilot testing out the new Quarp Jet: a new small space ship that can teleport over distances. When a sun in a nearby galaxy begins to collapse and threatens people’s lives you’re sent in to go save them. It’s simple and works perfectly for the game. It’s not deep or complex, but the fun comic book style can keep you interested with its excellent artwork. Otherwise, it’s just a simple excuse to get you into the levels.
Each level requires you to get to the ending as fast as possible while picking up as many escape pods as you can. The screen is always moving forward and you can hold down the right bumper to move with it. At any time your can hold down the square button to pick a nearby spot to teleport to, and later on you can place points on the map that you can make a long jump to. Using this you’ll have to fly through levels multiple times to deactivate force fields in a specific order so you can move on. It requires you to think ahead of time and place beacons in the most advantageous locations, which is usually at an intersection. You’ll have to hit switches in proper numerical order to take down force fields, so this will have you warping back and forth to make sure you do this.
You’ll have to fight off enemies and destroy barriers to complete your objectives though. The X button lets you fire a laser forward, while you can use the right stick to lob bombs. You can upgrade your gun to fire in multiple directions or to fire an overpowered laser, but combat was clearly more of a last thought. There’s only one or two enemy types in the game and there’s no boss fights to speak of. Enemies barely pose a threat and you have more of a risk of getting caught on the environment and getting killed by the stage scroll, or accidentally teleporting into a barrier.
There’s 50 levels that take anywhere between 1 to 10 minutes. If you explore the levels you can also find extra bonus levels, along with things like artwork. There’s a few goofy minigames as well, like a Minesweeper clone, but nothing really worth writing home about. That said, Velocity Ultra is a good chunk of fun. Teleporting around to rescue people while avoiding things and keeping up with the screen requires you to be paying attention and to have good reactions. It’s fun and hectic which makes it well worth picking up for those interested.