You can shoot your way through the credits in Velocity, shredding producers and technicians alike, and even blowing QA to pieces. It’s a tiny touch, perhaps, but, along with wily level design, vicious unlockable challenges, and a dinky bundled version of Minesweeper, it’s emblematic of the style and energy with which the whole game has been put together.
Not to mention the imagination. FuturLab’s latest is a scrolling blaster that never seems content with such a narrow definition. While much of the campaign is spent cutting paths through collapsing space stations and chipping away at looping enemy chains in a manner suggestive of Amiga-era shooters, Velocity’s developers can’t help throwing in dangerous new ideas every five minutes, most of which leave serious kinks in the design. For starters, you’ve got an ability to teleport through walls and across gaps, scrambling the racing line and turning the environment itself into your antagonist. After that, the next few missions alone will leave you with bombs, security nodes to demolish in sequence, and an ability to deploy strategic respawn hubs – at which point the game’s core influences shift from Xenon towards Metroid.
Neither was this relentlessly fast, however, with each squeeze of the right trigger allowing you to speed things up even further in the name of showboating. Neither encouraged the same blend of efficiency and flair from its players, either, as so many ideas come together harmoniously. Despite its hectic invention, then, Velocity retains a rare kind of focus. Vita owners finally have something tart to see them through the drought, and the Minis just got a new standard bearer.