You know you’ve found a gem of a game when you can play for hours on end, with ever increasing and equal amounts of fun, difficulty and addictiveness.Even when you rage quit after messing up for the 32nd time and slam down your 3DS or Vita, you might immediately pick it back up again to keep playing. This is escapeVektor for me in a nutshell.
escapeVektor comes to us from the guys at Nnooo, off the back of their last game Spirit Hunters Inc (which I reviewed previously!) and if you’ve got a good memory and visited the Wii Shop Channel in the past, you may have already played Chapter 1 of escapeVektor. With this handheld release, what was originally going to be a few chapters has now become a more full and complete package. The game feels more at home on a handheld too, with the amount of levels available and the speed you may be able to beat them in, it’s perfect for the mentality of the handheld scene. A few times I’ve been on a short trip or a train ride and I’ve pulled my 3DS out, played a few levels and then slipped it back in my bag, it’s a perfect gaming on the go game to enjoy.
But what do you actually do in escapeVektor? In the game you play as “Vektor” and you’re trapped inside your handheld’s CPU, trying to escape! The way you do this is by going through “nodes” as they are called, completing them to progress. Each level is a map/grid style filled with multiple “cells”. Cells are made up white lines that make a square, which you need to fill in. Your objective in each level is to follow the lines to change them from white to another colour, while racking up points and avoiding enemies like patrols and munchers! With 150 levels there’s hours and hours of fun to obtain here.
The game sounds easy enough doesn’t it? “I can do that! No sweat!” Well it is easy to play! Very easy to learn and grasp concepts. Within 10 minutes of starting, I was already planning strategic routes, boosting and detonating like I’d been playing for hours. After a while though, the difficulty starts to ramp up. It never felt too punishing though and when new concepts or enemies appeared, they were never made hard to understand and after a go or two, I knew exactly what to do. Things like the aformented munchers, who will follow and eat up paths you’ve already covered and interceptors, force field/barrier type things that you can not only lure bad guys into, but also destroy yourself, never get thrown at you without you understanding them. They cleverly use the visuals and your own curiosity to learn and discover their tricks and how they work. Like I said before, it’s never throwing you in the deep end to leave you at the game’s mercy, it cleverly teaches you how it works in a simple yet effective way. You can fail at the easiest or hardest things, but you never feel like it’s impossible, you always know it’s from something you did wrong and never due to a fault of the game. I think credit needs to go to Nnooo for easing players into everything in their game, keeping a nice and stable difficulty curve throughout.
As we continue through nodes and zones, we learn more about Vektor. Who is he? Why is he there? He can’t really tell you much when you begin, but through playing the game and helping him on his quest, he discovers old memories and we learn more about his past as we go on. But you’re not just helping him in this quest! He finds you wildcards and updates your abilities as you go on! See? Perfect team!
Being on the 3DS, Nnooo gets to show off how they can handle 3D. Taking cues from Nintendo games, they’ve made the wise choice of not overloading you visually with 3D everywhere, subtly making things pop out, complimenting the already bright and colourful visuals. Think of it the way Super Mario 3D Land works, compliments, but never overloads. It’s a perfect amount. Music also helps add to the experience of it all, building you up and fitting really well with it all. It just adds that much more to the overall experience.
The game can be flown through if you really wanted to, but the fun with this game is connecting online, seeing friends and people across the world and their scores. This is a game perfect for me, it feeds into my addictive, competetive and perfectionist nature. Add in wildcards, which double your score when used, and you’ve got a game that will challenge you to figure out ways to squeeze out an extra few hundred points and rise a few places above friends. Getting a better score can net you a higher medal, with platinum, gold, silver and bronze. If you love high scores and bragging rights, escapeVektor is the perfect game for you.
Getting a better score gets you more experience too. When you finish a level, you get experience based on your score, the higher your score, the more you get, so it’s worth going back on a level and milking it for a few more points. Experience helps you level up and gain more boost, abilities and more detonations.
My only real problem with the game is minor. You’re always presented with a close view of the action, with a small field of view ahead, which can create some tense moments. You can hold down a button to zoom out, but to keep it zoomed out, you have to hold the button down. I would have loved for this to be a toggle option, as in you press the button to zoom out, then press again to zoom back in. That’s my only complaint of the game and it’s minor and doesn’t detract from the overall experience.
I mentioned it earlier, about how I would rage quit. Sometimes you would think that rage quit implies it’s not the best game, or it’s too hard, but I think in this case it’s a compliment. I love games that are hard and addictive, that require you to learn all the intricacies and help you better your skills to pinpoint precision. A lot of my favourite games are like this and after spending a fair few hours with escapeVektor, I can safely add it to that list. Everything in escapeVektor helps feed into become a huge, huge addiction. High scores, battling friends, gaining experience, figuring out strategies, discovering secrets, completing time trials, finding more levels and just trying to help Vektor find out who he is, escapeVektor culminates in a fully fleshed out, score hunting, fiendishly fun and complete experience, well worth not only your time, but your money. If you own a 3DS or a Vita, it’s worth every cent you pay, grab it and love it. Congratulations Nnooo on such a fantastic game.