A reminder that not all the medium’s oldest ideas have been successfully revisited just yet, EscapeVektor lies at the crossroads where Qix and Pac-Man collide, marrying the line-drawing systems of Taito’s game with the thrilling chases of Namco’s pill-gobbler. The objective never changes: trace every line of the oblong shapes that make up each stage and you’ll move onto the next, a simple idea that bears repeating thanks to a steady trickle of new features throughout a generous array of stages.
Standard enemies patrol a single vertical or horizontal route, while others are more persistent pursuers. Your craft upgrades as your foes grow more aggressive, however, with the ability to boost and trigger explosions giving you the upper hand. Accelerate through a junction as traffic approaches from all angles before detonating at the last second, and you’ve got something akin to a minimalist take on a classic Burnout crash. The destruction doesn’t compare, of course, but the satisfaction certainly does. Elsewhere, medal targets and online leaderboards encourage repeat plays of an already substantial campaign.
It’s a smart concept, skilfully realised in the main, and yet it’s compromised by a truly boneheaded piece of design: the default perspective offers such a limited view of the field of play that you’re forced to squeeze the zoom button throughout to make it playable, with no option to toggle it. There’s a nugatory narrative that only serves to delay the action, too, and it’s these twin frustrations that needlessly hobble an otherwise entertaining throwback.
3DS version tested.