escapeVektor (3DS eShop) Review
The WiiWare version of escapeVektor was good, but it was just one part of a game that never got the chance to be fully explored. Now on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, Aussie developers Nnooo have put all the parts of the story of Vektor together in one game and finally we can play through it all in one go.
EscapeVektor is a puzzler that looks simple by appearance but once you start to play, it you soon realise that this is a tough one to crack. Admittedly the first few levels are pretty simple, but that’s just there to lull you into a false sense of security.
To progress in escapeVektor you need to move around a grid, colouring it as you move along; the faster you to do it, the more points you get. But it’s not that simple, along the way you’ll have enemies hunting you down, fences not only blocking you from completing the level but towers defending the grid too. There’s a time limit as well, take too long and the game sets out to hunt you down. Some levels too contain secret exits and will require you to be brave and re-venture out onto the map to cover more of the grid.
So who is Vektor and what is he escaping from? Each grid in the game is a section of a part of the CPU that Vektor is trapped in. Each level you clear, the more you learn about Vektor, the more abilities you unlock and the closer you get to escaping. As you move through the game Vektor will talk to you, sharing his thoughts (that he remembers) as he tries to escape with you, it’s one of the first times I’ve played a puzzle game where I’ve cared about the story. I wanted to find out what happened to Vektor.
As you do learn more about Vektor and he remembers more and more he also learns new abilities to aid you in escaping. You’ll be able to bomb and boost away from the enemies. The game is controlled much like Pacman with the ability to ‘load up’ turns before you get there. As you’re going along a straight line, make sure you hold the direction you want to go before you get there if you want to rack up a really good high score.
There is also the ability to zoom out and see more of the play field, something we actually found annoying. Without the zoom, the difficulty of the game becomes too much and you just hold the button anyway. It should be a toggle, even on the 3DS XL you’ll want to zoom. Along with the zoom issue we also had problems, and it could just be my eyesight seeing the enemy towers on the red backgrounded levels. The towers are little blips on the end of grid lines and it’s almost impossible to see them on some levels. Even the 3D effect, which is great, can’t help with this one.
EscapeVektor may be hard but you’ll want to go back again and again for more punishment in order to climb up the leaderboards. If you’re connected to your local Wi-Fi, the game will constantly update your leaderboard progress so you can see where you stand in your country or with your friends. Don’t worry though if you’re not on the internet – no matter how much you play the game will remember and upload your scores when you next get the chance. The game also hands out Wildcards during the course of the game to double your score on any given level, using it is a gamble. What happens if you die a couple of second later? Wildcard gone. You’ll want to be confident and try the levels a few times before burning through these.
EscapeVektor we found is hard to play in long sessions. It’s a visually stimulating game and as well as one that makes you think and it’s unforgiving. This might sound negative but it’s not, at least for the right person.
EscapeVektor oozes style both visually and audibly from start to finish. The simple graphical style works perfectly and looks amazing in 3D. Nnooo have even tweaked the 3D effect to work much like Super Mario 3D Land and works very well. The game’s soundtrack too is equally as good and fits the games theme perfectly.
With Nnooo’s other recent portable title Spirit Hunters, we lamented the fact that being a DSiWare title it couldn’t use the new technologies found in the 3DS which would have made that game better. escapeVektor doesn’t have that problem at all and is better because it is on the Nintendo 3DS. It’s portable and it’s always connected to the internet, online leaderboards are a wonderful thing.
escapeVektor was a good start on WiiWare, but it’s a great and complete game on the 3DS. Nnooo’s been able to complete the story of Vektor in a superior portable form.