Version tested: PlayStation Vita
January 22, 2013 marked the release of escapeVektor for the PS Vita. EscapeVektor was published and created by Nnooo, a video game developer based out of Sidney, Australia. Nnooo was originally founded in 2006 by former lead game designer for Electronic Arts Nic Watt. Since its conception, Nnooo has released several apps for the Nintendo DS/DSi and iPhone. The most notable of these would be Pop. EscapeVektor is an indie puzzle/arcade game rated E for Everyone.
In EscapeVektor you are tasked with the mission of helping Vektor escape from within the evil CPU. Players explore zones while solving puzzles to progress through the game. Each puzzle is called a node and is composed of cells. In order to solve the node players must claim all the cells in a level; to claim a cell a player must border all of its walls. Once all cells are claimed an exit appears and players must enter the exit to complete the level.
Gameplay controls are simple enough; stressing technique rather than offensive and defensive strategies while solving a node. Players acquire abilities from experience in the form of points. Abilities are managed by meter or blip. Converting cells builds both blip and meter, while using abilities drain them. Gyroscope mode can be toggled on or off during game play. This mode allows you to utilize the Vita’s sensor function. Players can turn the camera by tilting their Vita system; in doing so, nodes can be played from interesting angles. This element of game play is a matter of preference and not necessary to enjoy or solve puzzles.
Each level has a score goal that if obtained awards the player medals ranking from bronze to platinum. Node scores are determined by how quickly the level is exited, how many enemies are destroyed, and if a Wildcard is activated at the start of the puzzle. Personal best scores are automatically uploaded onto the PlayStation Network leaderboards where they can be compared to player high scores. Scores from around the world can be viewed as well as scores from nearby PS Vita players and PSN friends. PS Vita players can look forward to nine unlockable trophies to add to their collection.
As mentioned before your personal score doubles as experience, automatically upgrading your abilities and unlocking new ones as you break each new version threshold. Vektor’s abilities range from faster movement to enhanced offensive capabilities. This dynamic prompts players to aim for higher scores to gain both new and stronger abilities. Despite your abilities, sound tactics are your best strategy in solving each puzzle. As you escape more nodes the puzzles naturally increase in complexity; throwing relentless enemies, traps, and secret cells to be conquered.
EscapeVektor’s graphics are crisp and clear which is to be expected from the Vita’s HD capabilities. The colors are smartly used, bringing personality to each node, though at times uncolored gray/white regions of a node can be confusing from the zoomed out view if they are tightly formed cells. I found that my avatar jumped a few paces if I boosted and detonated, but this did little to change the gameplay and happened rarely.
The music sounds like something a CPU would be playing while it went about its computing duties. Up-beat beeps, electric haze waves, and computing sounds kept my head grooving as I escaped nodes. The pace of the soundtrack shifts according to what is happening in the node. The tracks sound great, however there is a limited selection of tracks. Each track’s length averages about three minutes.
EscapeVektor offers hours of gameplay, offering four chapters, 150 levels, and 27 worlds to explore and escape from. Player leaderboards are updated every time you connect to PSN. Competitive types should have their work cut out for them climbing leaderboards. Nnooo has not released any information concerning future DLC. Still, the amount of content currently available should keep casual gamers satisfied. This game offers the consumer fairly high replay value.
Simply put, EscapeVektor is the Pac-Man of our day. Fans of Pac-Man will feel right at home claiming cells and out maneuvering enemies while building impressive high scores. EscapeVektor is endearing; like unexpected kindness from strangers. EscapeVektor still evokes that same competitive desire to have the highest score in the local arcade, although the local arcade is now a global network, where your score is always under attack by a new opponent
EscapeVektor’s fun and cool retro style gameplay is rewarding. The music, although not offering varied selections, is a perfect match. The release content comes with a lot of levels. Hardcore gamers and casual ones alike will find their needs met. Charming story meets competitive high score challenges. No news on DLC leaves room for longing. However, for $9.99 this game is worth the risk. EscapeVektor is a good buy for arcade gamers and younger kids around the age of 8 and 10.