Velocity Ultra review for PS Vita

Platform: PlayStation Vita
Publisher: FuturLab
Developer: FuturLab
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: Leaderboards

Velocity Ultra got its start as a PS Mini called Velocity, so it’s not too surprising that the game is a little bite-sized: lots of short missions, relatively basic controls, rudimentary cut scenes. Basically, it’s the kind of game that wouldn’t have existed, say, six years ago, before Apple’s App Store showed that there was a (rather lucrative) market for them.

Of course, the App Store also showed that size didn’t really matter, and that tiny little handheld games could be just as fun as triple-A ones. This is a truth that’s reinforced by Velocity Ultra. All those bite-sized aspects that I mentioned last paragraph make it well-suited to both longer gaming sessions and quick gaming breaks alike.


Take the short missions, for example. Most of them can be breezed through in just a few minutes, perfect for when you just want to kill a few minutes during a commute or between classes. At the same time, however, they’re structured in such a way that it’s very, very easy to sink massive amounts of time into them — you’ve got online leaderboards, you’ve got gold/silver/bronze stars, and, most importantly, there’s the constant sense of “Hey, that last one didn’t take too long, I can squeeze in one more!” Just speaking from personal experience, I regularly found that one mission would turn into five missions would turn into eight to ten missions, and next thing I knew it would be an hour or two later.

In fact, everything about the game strikes this balance between casual and hardcore. The story: told via colorful, comic-style graphics, but basic enough (essentially, kill the aliens and save the survivors) that you can put the game down and come back to it without feeling like you’ve completely lost the plot. The controls: easy to pick up (Velocity Ultra is, at its core, a shmup, so most of the game is flying forward and shooting aliens), but difficult to really master until you’ve played at least a couple of times.


And the music?oh, the music. There’s a reason FuturLab can get away with selling the soundtrack separately on iTunes. It’s fantastic, a neat mixture of old-school video games and modern-day dance party. Couple that with the bright graphics, and you’ve got a real feast for the senses.

Come to think of it, that description works just as well for the game as a whole, too: Velocity Ultra is a treat to play. It looks great, it sounds great and it plays great. It is, quite simply, just a great game, and a must-have for Vita owners.

Grade: A