It's a growing trend to develop games that are almost impossibly difficult. Velocibox continues this craziness by having players control an incredibly fast cube that automatically hurls itself down treacherous hallways, but is it too difficult for its own good?
You control the box by simply pushing left, right, and a button to flip the level 180 degrees while avoiding all solidly shaded objects and collecting enough cubes to advance to the next level. It seems simple enough at first, but being able to wrap your head around where things will be once you flip is your first challenge to overcome. If there's a wall on your left then you have to remember that it'll be on your right when you flip. After you overcome that initial lesson, Velocibox does a great job of slowly introducing new obstacles to you. As you play through each level, you'll have to restart constantly, but it feels awesome once you manage to progress. Thankfully, restarting is as simple as a tap of a button. Keep in mind that a level can take mere seconds to complete, but that time adds up after restarting dozens of times since you'll likely crash within a second or two. Therefore, this game is only for people who have the patience to retry again and again. Everyone else will probably be puzzled as to how anyone could enjoy such a seemingly impossible challenge.
Velocibox's visuals are minimal yet they implement plenty of eye-popping effects. The way the camera rotates will turn your stomach and the screen ripples that commence when you crash make you want to immediately give it another go. Even when you start a new game, watching the box heavily crash to the ground is very satisfying. Every level has its own colour scheme which consists of a well-contrasted palette that makes it easy to focus on what's to come. The included music will get your adrenaline going with its '90s sounding electronic vibes. To complete the audio, you're treated to rewarding chimes when you collect cubes and a robotic voice that introduces levels and informs you of your constant failures. She reminds me of GLaDOS for some reason. In fact, Velocibox kind of resembles Portal, too. Anyway, it looks and sounds fantastic which makes having to constantly retry feel much less punishing.
When it comes to content, Velocibox offers just enough to keep you entertained. The main campaign includes nine levels that can be played either one at a time or all at once (which qualifies you for the leaderboards). As you progress, new curveballs are thrown at you that'll force you to step up your game and learn how to tackle them effectively. Such surprises include avoiding moving and expanding obstacles, travelling down narrow and winding paths, and having to flip just in time to make it through the center of an obstacle that surrounds the entire circumference of the level. Once you manage to work your way through the campaign, another one known as Super Velocibox is unlocked. If you thought the first set of levels were tough, then attempting this mode will make your jaw drop.
Besides the fact that this game will inherently divide players with its immense challenge, there is one looming flaw that kept occurring as I played. This is the fact that each level features a handful of randomly assigned layouts. This is cool because it prevents you from relying on memorization alone, but these layouts are quite uneven when it comes to difficulty. Whenever I recognized a layout that I previously attempted multiple times yet eventually found it to be impossible (at least for me), I purposely crashed and started again in hopes that a more forgiving one will show up. This gave me the feeling that not only were my skills being tested but also my luck. If the layouts differentiated themselves as much as they do yet offered a more steady challenge then that would have been perfect.
Velocibox is one of those intensely challenging games that actually remains more enjoyable than frustrating. Of course, you'll need to acquire a tolerance for endlessly retrying, but once you do you'll feel nothing but the sweet sense of victory at every inch of progress.
- + Awesome visual effects with a minimalist style and heart-pumping music
- + The simple controls are easy to learn
- + Progression is very rewarding
- - Some may find the extreme challenge too frustrating to enjoy
- - Uneven difficulty among randomly assigned level layouts