Today I am having a first impressions look at Velocibox, a game developed by Shawn Beck, who kindly provided us with a code, currently available on Steam for the grand price of £3.99.
So, what is Velocibox? It’s a game that’s fairly hard to describe, but it is basically a game made for those of you who love your score attack games. You play as the loveliest of cubes, proceeding at high speed down a level full of obstacles on the ceiling, floor and walls.
Your goal is to collect cubes on the level, until you collect enough to proceed to the next level. This is much easier said than done, however, as one wrong move into one of the many obstacles, and your cube will meet the end of its days and you will have to start again at level one. Yes, you are sent back to the beginning, even if you make it up to the higher levels. This is a game based on precision, twitch reactions and is not for the faint of heart.
In order to avoid the obstacles, you can ride the walls, and even flip straight onto the ceiling. Keep in mind, however, that the “ceiling” will change based on your position on the level, so you have to make split second decisions on what is the best strategy. Should you ride the wall and avoid the obstacle, or flip? Given that you only have the one chance, this a tense, edge of your seat experience.
On the Steam page, Velocibox is described as “a twitch heavy action game crafted for the hardcore audience”, and that is exactly right. This game requires excellent concentration, luck, and skill. I found this game very challenging but enjoyable, but struggled to stay alive on level two for more than a few seconds.
As you can see, graphically this is a very clean and simple looking game, built in the Unity engine. It is bright and colorful, and all for the better. The developer obviously recognised that you needed to be able to easily tell an obstacle from a safe place, and for your cube to stand out, as much as possible. So this clean style definitely works for the title. The controls are just as simple, with them being resigned to the arrow keys only on the keyboard or the joystick on the controller. Although, I would heavily recommend you stick to the keyboard for this one, as it is a game based on precision and twitch timing.
The music also fits very well with the rest of the game, as it’s a very fast, driving electronic soundtrack. Given the suicidal speed of this game, such a driving soundtrack keeps your adrenaline pumping as you get ever closer to collecting enough cubes to reach the end of the level. Oh, and naturally there is a multiplier mechanic in this game, which encourages you to collect cubes as fast as possible in order to increase your score. Obviously this comes with some risks, but the feeling of getting a difficult to reach cube and then dodging out of the way at the last second from an oncoming obsctacle is a good one.
The levels are generated each time you play, and seem to switch between a few tile sets for each one. The Steam page claims there are “70 deviously designed patterns”, spread across nine levels. So that further adds to the difficulty, meaning you can’t just memorise the level layout.
There were a few times were I thought to myself, “What the hell killed me?”, but it’s tough to say if this is down to any unfairness in the game or just terribleness in my play. The game is so fast paced that it is very possible that I made some minute mistake and caused my cube to explode. (I’m sorry, Mr. Cube!)
This game is punishing, and will take a fair bit of practice to be any good at, but I will say that it is still enjoyable. Despite my frustration at dying so early on in the second level (over, and over, and over again), I still felt compelled to keep on playing, to keep on getting better at it. Velocibox is definitely made for those of you seeking a challenge, and for those of you who strive for that new high score. This game makes you feel excellent when you reach the next level, get the new highscore, and keeps the tension and adrenaline flowing just enough so that you want to keep on playing despite your frustration with yourself.
I would recommend it, but not to the faint of heart. Oh, and for the insane ones reading this, there is even a higher difficulty mode called Super Velocibox mode. Consider that challenge issued.
Get it here: http://store.steampowered.com/app/317710/