Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Indie Impressions - Velocibox


Now Available on Steam

Developed by Shawn Beck

With origins in the Ludum Dare game jams, Velocibox emerges from its roots as the most difficult and rewarding endless runner around.

Frustration is a feeling that when applied correctly can keep the player determined, and Velocibox is certainly a frustrating game. As frustrating as it is, why do I keep coming back for more? Despite my initial hundreds of deaths on the first level, despite hearing "Level 1, begin!" ring through my ears and haunting me in my sleep, I still keep loading up this punishing game every chance I get to push onwards. It's probably because every time I play I learn something new and get a little further with the end of my current best stage always just out reach. Patience is clearly a virtue as you take baby steps learning to surf along the four deadly sides of this flashy and minimal Velocibox.

Velocibox originated as a Ludum Dare game jam, and after high demand comes to Steam as the newest and hardest offering in the endless runner genre. This is the definition of "one more try!" gameplay, like some kind of super addictive fusion of Super Hexagon and the usual avoid-em-up action of an endless runner, the gameplay is super easy to get into but quickly ramps up into pure chaos making mastering the game a serious challenge.

Levels are generally short but that depends mostly on how fast you're picking up each of the floating cubes along the way, as you can drift along endlessly until the correct amount are obtained. Each of the sections all have a random factor to their composition and placement on any fresh start but always feature the same general patterns, requiring a bit of muscle memory to fully master each one. You'll die an innumerable amount of times learning these layouts and the lack of checkpoints will punish your every mistake dooming you to start anew with each failure.

Getting into the groove is a slow affair for newcomers as the player takes their time figuring out how to navigate the fast-paced walls and its obstacles. Once you've got a handle on how to flip the stage and grind along the sides with ease the game opens up a lot more, going from frustrating to outright addictive.

The player will apply these newly developed skills flipping and coasting across walls with finesse and elegance picking up the important orange cubes with diligence. As skills improve and orange cubes are picked up faster, your multiplier ascends at an alarming rate and you'll be burning right through each of the stages in a minimalistic Super Hexagon-esque blissout.

Velocibox requires persistence and a bit of patience, that's for damn sure, but if you're willing to dedicate a high level of focus you'll be rewarded with one of the most intense and refreshing pick-up-and-play experiences. This is a must for fans of quick and colorful arcade action who aren't discouraged by a fierce challenge.

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