Velocibox review for PS Vita, PS4

Platform: PS Vita
Also On: PS4
Publisher: LOOT Entertainment
Developer: Shawn Beck Games
Medium: Digital
Players: 1
Online: No

To get an idea of what Velocibox is like, just look back to Battletoads’ infamous turbo tunnels.

Got that? Now speed it up significantly. And make it multi-dimensional, so that you’re not just avoiding obstacles on one plane, but rather all four. And make the obstacles move in unpredictable ways. And make the levels change each time, so you can’t memorize or learn them. And add in one-hit deaths. And add in lots of flashing lights and a throbbing electronic soundtrack, just to make everything seem that much more overwhelming.

Velocibox 2

In other words, the makers of Velocibox essentially took one look at one of the toughest video game levels of all time, thought “Pfft, not hard enough”, and set out to make something even harder.

Okay, it probably didn’t happen exactly like that, but it certainly feels that way. Velocibox is hard. Nope, that doesn’t even fully cover it: Velocibox is HARD. Super, ridiculously, absurdly, almost unfairly hard. And that’s just at the first level. Heck, that’s just the tutorial: you get a trophy for getting through it unscathed, which should tell you how hard this game is right off the bat.

Note: I did not get that trophy.

Velocibox 1

Now, I’m not going to lie: I can’t say I enjoyed Velocibox. While I appreciate what its makers were trying to do — make a very simple, very tough game — it starts off with such an insanely high degree of difficulty, it’s hard to even get into it in the first place. No sooner are you being shown the game’s basic mechanics (you’re controlling a cube hurtling endlessly through a tunnel) than you’re dying, and dying, and dying again. It’s not like, say, Cosmophony, where you could at least gain the required muscle memory as you gradually slog your way through each level. Nope, here you die right off the bat, and then die again as the game changes things up on you. While that may appeal to some, it does absolutely nothing for me.

I recognize, of course, that there are some extraordinarily masochistic gamers out there who love extreme challenges like these. Who enjoy dying and dying and dying again, just for the brief thrill of advancing one more level. Such gamers should absolutely adore Velocibox, since it wants nothing more than to kill you off again and again and again. If, however, you’re the kind of person who wants to start off a game feeling like you have a ghost of a chance, then you’re definitely not going to get that here.

Grade: B