A retro-inspired puzzle game that oozes style and offers creative, enjoyable challenges.
What escapeVektor Got Right
- + Simple premise, deep and challenging gameplay
- + Presentation and soundtrack awesome
- + Leaderboards and score system rewarding
What escapeVektor Got Wrong
- - Can cause a head-ache with 3D effect
escapeVektor is the perfect example of a game with a simple but effective (and addictive) gameplay premise. Set inside a retro-inspired CPU system fully realised as a gorgeous, colourful vector-based graphical display, you are tasked to help a mysterious coder named Vektor escape the self-aware computer and its increasingly hostile security programs.
Through a "ship" of sorts, you and Vektor will navigate through each node -- comprised of a series of connecting circuit grids which need to be coloured by passing over the outlined white lines -- to access the grid's exit.
Watch the official Nintendo 3DS version trailer.
The nodes are simple, small and straightforward at first, with security patrols possessing a basic movement pattern which you can easily avoid by moving to another circuit -- if they happen to touch or catch you, you're dead bytes.
But as you progress, the levels get bigger, the security patrols get more aggressive and numerous, and Vektor opens up to you about why he's here, while also introducing gameplay options that increase the depth and challenge of each level. Such options include a temporary boost feature, and a detonation ability which is handy to destroy nearby enemies, especially the 'Interceptors', who follow you beyond their assigned circuits and boundaries.
The mysterious presence and background of how Vektor became trapped is a light story, with only bits of information shared to you between levels, but I enjoyed learning of his past while taking on the increasingly difficult challenges. With over 150 nodes and 27 zones to complete and master, spread across four chapters, there isn't a shortage of playtime. That's not even including the bonus or hidden zones.
Retro meets modern in an addictive puzzle experience that was made to be portable.
The challenge and simple fun to be had in escapeVektor's nodes is enhanced by the depth of its scoring system. Besting your own scores and friends over the leaderboard is addictive and finding ways to maximise your scores -- such as using a risky Wildcard -- throughout each level is a blast. Playing this on the train was always a fun way to pass the commute time, though I probably disturbed passengers when I raged -- still in delight though -- as I missed my target score.
Another great aspect of escapeVektor is its presentation and soundtrack, which oozes style. As mentioned before, the representation of the CPU in a minimalist vector-based interface is a wondrous sight to behold, and even more impressive when using the 3D feature. As a visually stimulating game, the 3D may give you a headache, but if you choose to use it, the colours and vector layout will pop out with even more flash. The retro chip-tunes also set the mood for the arcade/puzzle challenges ahead.
The Final Verdict
For those who have not already played the WiiWare release two years ago, now is a great time to get into escapeVektor, as Aussie developer Nnooo have packaged all four chapters in their 3DS e-Shop (and PS Vita) release. The puzzle/arcade title remains as addictive and charming as it did two years ago, and is proof that sometimes the best and most challenging games are the simple ones that get straight to the point.
By Nathan Misa