escapeVektor: Chapter 1 Review
Some of the best games of all time are the simple, yet challenging ones. Donkey Kong, Pac-Man and Tetris all have simple concepts, yet immense difficulty that challenges the player and keeps them coming back for more. While the puzzle meets retro arcade gaming sector has seen a number of successes in recent years, Nnooo's escapeVektor: Chapter 1 goes above and beyond all expectations, as it offers an inviting and unforgettable experience.
What escapeVektor: Chapter 1 Got Right
Gorgeous simplicity - escapeVektor: Chapter 1 is a simple yet gorgeous game. Set inside the inner workings of a CPU, players are greeted with a colourful, vector based graphical display that simulates what most 80's film believed a computer world looked like. With deep blues, warm purples, glowing reds and more, Nnooo brings this seemingly simple world to life, the symmetrical lines of while is simply the icing on the cake. Everything stands out on its own, and makes this a terrific achievement in minimalistic graphical adventures.
Great controls - Nnooo has offered players two control methods, which is more than most first party Nintendo games offer. Players can use the Classic Controller attachment if they like, but the game controls perfectly fine with a lone Wiimote held horizontally, mimicking the NES controller for those retro gamers out there. Controls are tight and respond immediately, which is extremely important considering you will need to make some very important twitch movements from time to time.
Challenging gameplay - escapeVektor: Chapter 1 is easy enough to grap, but hard to master which is half of its appeal. The premise is that Vektor is stuck inside the CPU and needs your help to break free. The system is becoming self-aware and is trying to thwart your efforts to help him along the way. You control a small "ship" of sorts and you will need to travel across the sectors outlined by a white line to "fill" them. Your enemies will range from those that simply patrol, Hunters who will follow you if spotted, and Interceptors who will come at you with full force. A good range of enemies in a variety of situations makes for some exciting gameplay along the way.
The game kicks things off with an introductory world which teaches you the basics, yet Nnooo has done a great job to make this not feel like a traditional tutorial. The hand holding here is minimal, and before you know it you'll be on your own facing off against an army of CPU enemies, armed with your boost and detonations attacks.
It's through the simplistic nature that escapeVektor: Chapter 1 thrives, thrusting players into difficult situations where the outcome is very clear, getting there is the challenge. It's fast paced, it's addictive and it's a whole lot of fun.
Rewards and incentive - Players like to be rewarded; the success of the Xbox Live's Achievement system and PSN's trophy system are indicative. Nnooo has offered up a number of medals and badges for performance, scores and unlocking hidden worlds to keep players striving for perfection. It just adds another element to the experience, and for the completionists out there it will definitely add to the replay value of the title.
Bangin' soundtrack - Along with the colourful graphical interface, players will be treated to one bangin' soundtrack. An awesome mix of retro inspired chiptunes and beats are present as you move your way through the story. Retro meets modern in the best way possible, here's hoping they release this as an official soundtrack CD at some point.
What escapeVektor: Chapter 1 Got Wrong
Online leaderboards - escapeVektor: Chapter 1 tracks your score data per level and records your fastest times. It would have been great to see an Online leaderboard that tracks the world ranking best scores and times, and perhaps even a friendcode option so you could compare with your mates. Not a major problem at all, but it would definitely be a nice addition.
The Final Verdict
Very rarely do we see a game come through with such perfect design and gameplay, but escapeVektor: Chapter 1 nails it on debut. Mixing simple yet challenging gameplay with a bangin' soundtrack, a retro feel, great rewards and a memorable graphical design, Nnooo have released their best game to date. Everyone with a Wii should take it out of the cupboards, dust it off and download this game right now, you won't be disappointed.
By Stephen Heller
escapeVektor: Chapter 1
Similar To Pac-Man, Qix
MMGN WiiWare reviews are rated out of 5 stars