When it comes to anti-gravity racing, speed and fluidity go hand in hand. It takes much more than that to make a great experience in this space, but for me at least, they’re two key ingredients that any anti-gravity racer needs to instill. Now, as far as Velocity G is concerned, it nails this for the most part. Sadly, on the other hand, it falls rather flat elsewhere. There’s not much of a premise to lean on here. The game is based in the year 2086, a time in which the fabled Velocity G Championship is running, and you’re thrown straight into the thick of it.
Naturally, the futuristic theme gives off a very Wipeout-esque vibe. Everything is neon lit, with heaps of vibrant, flashy colors popping off the screen. There’s a total of three modes to dive on; championship, local co-op, and quick race. The latter is the place to be if you’re looking for quick-fire races with the ability to select a custom track; how many twists, the gradient, the length, how many over laps, and so forth. Leaderboard support is present also, and here, you can check out how you fare against your buddies, and indeed your previous race times.
It’s got many of the features that the championship mode houses, but we’ll get to that mode in a moment. Local co-op, on the other hand, offers support for up to four players to duke it out in a race for supremacy. Moving back to the championship mode, this is where the meat of the matter is at. There’s heaps of races to take to here, though, you’ll always start with a choice of sixteen to initially hit up. The game offers a total of four types of race; multi lap, sprint, slalom, and drag strip – all of which are available to try out from the get-go.
When playing championship, you will be able to level up your character by completing races. The kicker, however, is that you will only earn points if you position third or higher. Obviously, the higher you rank, the more points you will earn; three hundred points for first place, two hundred for second place, and one hundred for third place. To be expected, you cant re-run races for repeat rewards. These points go towards your level-up, and for every new level you reach, you’ll unlock sixteen new races, and a brand spanking new vehicle.
This leads us to the game’s hexagon-based race grid menu. The game’s race pool is sat on a grid of hexagon nodes, with each node representing a race. The more you race, the more points you’re likely to earn. The further you progress and level-up, the more money you’ll gradually pull in. You’ll earn a bulk of cash for just leveling up, with the higher levels giving you a much better payout. There’s less than ten level-ups in the game, but even so, achieving that will likely take you a good while, bolstering the game’s longevity as a result.
There’s eight vehicles in the game to select from, and they all have their own distinct traits and characteristics. The vehicles unlocked later in are predictably better than the rest, or at least to some degree. You’ll spend that hard earned money on upgrading your vehicles; max speed, acceleration, and handling. There’s a cap to be mindful of, but it’s fairly generous in the grand scheme of things. I should also note that the better vehicles tend to be more pricey to upgrade. Nevertheless, for those of you that seek some aesthetic difference, Velocity G has your back.
You’re free to alter the color of your vehicle, but as to be expected, this is merely a cosmetic change. Still, when all is said and done, it’s nice to have the option. Now, moving onto the game’s field of play. Racing in Velocity G takes some getting used to. The whole ordeal offers full 360 degree racing, which means you’re free to travel along flooring, walls, ceilings, and so on. There’s parts of some tracks that are more confined and more strict, but you’ll usually get a warning via a telltale red blockade, signifying that the track is about to bottleneck.
Due to the freedom of movement, grouped with the breakneck speeds, it can be jarring just trying to stay in one piece. Hell, I found that whenever I hit a boost I would often spin out of control. Bear with it though, because once you gel with its mechanics, it becomes second nature. The tracks are typically littered with objects and structures of some form or another, all of which will greatly slow you down if you collide with them. These include the likes of giant fans, barriers, and other like-minded additions that serve no purpose but to break your pace.
The game does sport a few pick-ups that will help you in a pinch. You’re able to hold three at any given time, but for some daft reason, you’re unable to select the order in which you use them. In truth, the pick-ups don’t tend to step beyond the realm of what we’ve seen before. You’ll get a shield that prevents other racers from attack you, a laser that locks onto other racers and blows them up once utilized, a tractor beam that pulls other racers back to a small degree, and a boost that, well, gives you a slight boost of speed for a small portion of time.
The game’s tracks also have boost pads littered throughout, once again granting you a short bump in speed once you run through them. Finally, you’ll need to collect spanners along the way to maintain vehicle resilience. In Velocity G, you’ll take damage often. Whether that’s through colliding with structures or being attacked by other racers, you’ll regularly degrade. Should you drop to critical damage, you’ll blow up. Ultimately, this results in a massive speed reduction, which can be the difference between a loss and a win. Sadly, there’s no restart option.
Essentially this means that if you start out poorly, you need to see the race through or boot the game to the main menu and start over. This sort of omission doesn’t sit too well with the times, and can be quite tedious overall. Hopefully we see the option added in at a later date. In regards to the core difficulty, Velocity G just about gets a pass. For an anti-gravity racer, this isn’t at all that hard to begin with. In fact, you’re practically spoon fed the wins, and whilst the AI does bulk up later in, it’s still a fairly simplistic affair in comparison to other games of this type.
The biggest drawback sits with the game’s lack of diversity. I fully appreciate that the developer was aiming for isolation as far as track design goes. This much is apparent through the fact that every track takes place in a winding tunnel of some sort. The problem, however, is that it all feels samey-samey. Whilst there’s some slight variation present from location to location, you cant shake the feel of visual repetition. Speaking more specifically of its visual and audio design, Velocity G fails to truly excite on both fronts. It looks and sounds like Wipeout’s cheap cousin.
The game’s textures are bland and lacking in refinement, with far too many recycled assets present for my liking. This only emphasizes my point above, in which each track just feels too similar by design to the next. I can extend the same criticism to the game’s audio design, being that you’re only going to get generic cues and a dull soundtrack that rarely fails to frustrate. In fairness to the game, and taking its cheap cost into account, you’re certainly getting a lot of content in return. Just don’t expect a lot of quality. It’s, at very best, a serviceable experience.
Those of you that favor simplicity above all else will find the most value here, and if that’s you, you’ll appreciate Velocity G’s accessibility. Those of you that prefer mechanical depth and gameplay variation, however, will likely come away feeling burnt. It’s certainly a valiant effort on the developer’s part, but due to the lack of overall polish and general diversity, the whole ordeal gets quite boring, quite fast. In a time in which futuristic, fast-paced racing is picking up, Velocity G trails behind, regardless of its generous cost. Pay a fairly cheap price, get a fairly cheap game.
Velocity G is a mixed bag of pros and cons. On the one hand, it’s accessible, it handles pretty well, and it’s got a shed-load of races to take to. On the other hand, it’s got little mechanical depth, its track design is overly repetitive, and its visual and audio presentation is substandard at best. Overall, it’s a valiant effort on the developer’s part, but at a time in which futuristic racers are on the rise, despite its cheap cost, it’s wide of the mark.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox One. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.