Read between the lines
A funny thing happened to me while playing ‘Vectros’. I was initially stumped by its simplistic, line-drawn Vector Scan graphics. I believed, quite incorrectly I now admit, that the developers had somehow forgotten to ‘colour in’ in the game. Perhaps their virtual felt-tip pens had run out and someone accidentally released the game while the office runner popped down to Tesco to get some more. It was only 15 minutes in that I realised the visuals are supposed to look this way. Apparently it’s a technique that was used quite a lot in the early 90’s. You know I knew that right? Of course I did.
Ahem. ‘Vectros’ is an old school 3D arcade shooter in the style of those old Star Wars Cockpit cabinets you used to waste all your pocket money on back in the day (then stole a bunch of 50ps from your mums purse). You little thief.
It tells the rather involved story of a war between Earth and Mars. The fighter craft named Vectros , which was originally a secret weapon developed by Mars, has been stolen by the Earth Alliance and reprogrammed in an attack on Martian HQ. The story is ‘involved’ if you want to be kind, or ’of novel proportions’ if you go by the amount of text on its App Store description.
If the long winded history of the game’s development doesn’t put you to sleep before purchasing (seriously, that kind of content should be left for a page in-game, not stuck in an App Store description forcing you to scroll down for ages before seeing a single screenshot), what you’ll find is a decent enough shooter, but one that doesn’t really blow your head off in any way. Probably a good thing.
Using tilt controls which handily recalibrate depending on your position, the game auto-guides you through a wave of Mars’s finest corridors while you blast colourful vector shapes which I presume are aliens, using your and avoid smashing to pieces on Martian scenery while you dogfight to the death.
It plays out as you would expect – solid but unspectacular. Where controls are concerned, it’s a little annoying there’s no option to reverse them, as the fire buttons reside on the left hand side of the screen, meaning if you’re right handed, it might take a while before you stop instinctively reaching over to the other side. This is what driving a car in the USA must feel like.
Seeing as Vectros’s USP is its Vector Scan graphics, it’s a shame that this aspect lets it down a little. Sometimes the memory of something retro is actually more powerful than the thing itself. Case in point – I don’t know how I could’ve played games like this 20 years ago without getting a headache. Perhaps it’s because I was a younger, fitter man back then. Well, younger anyway.
Despite being relatively uncomplicated, the visuals are garish and loud. They do admittedly work in a ‘Tron’ electro glow kind of way , but one of the problems is that because everything looks the same, and nothing has any density, it’s easy to become disoriented. After a while, for hypochondriacs like me (we will not be silenced!), the effect is actually quite tiring. My eyes, they burn.
Sound is brilliant though. The music really pumps, the little voice over snippets work well and the effects all lend to a sense of velocity. ‘Whooooshbangwallop’. That’s my impression of one of the game’s sound effects.
So it’s standard 3D shooter fare which doesn’t reinvent anything. Sometimes that’s all you need. Just remember that the graphics are supposed to look the way they do. You dope.
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