Game Review #310: Vectronom (Nintendo Switch)
Reviewer: Steven Green
Publisher: ARTE Experience
Category: Rhythm-Based Puzzle
Release Date: 05.29.2019
Price (At Time of Review): $9.99
Buy Vectronom from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
The Head-Bobbing Cube
Welcome to Vectronom; the hyperactive, heart-pounding puzzle game that blows your mind with its intense EDM musical soundtrack. This game lets you play as a cube, who is clearly enjoying the tunes as its head bobs in sync with the music. In Vectronom, you play through tons of levels that feature minimalist blocky stages that change, move, or stop your journey to the end, in which you can move to the beat and grab collectables for a high score, or rush through to the finish and make your way to the promised land.
This game is first and foremost a puzzle game (as the music can be ignored if you wish). The puzzle mechanics consist of you directing a cube through a geometric path that can consist of a straight line with spikes that jab out to the music, or intense and large paths with disappearing blocks and changing paths that force you to learn the patterns and get into the music so you can jig your way through to the end portal. The game also has brightly colored squares throughout the courses that offer you an extra thing you can go for with them being the sole collectible of the game. Gathering these collectibles, the number of attempts you take, and the accuracy your movement matched up to the beat are all recorded and relayed to you at the end of each level. You progress through a ton of levels of varying difficulty, and even though with the simplistic design you would think the game would get old or could get same-y, I found myself thoroughly enjoying the entire experience from start to finish. The mechanics used and the things the game is trying to teach you along the way kept the spice at a premium throughout.
The soundtrack offers a pretty unique and fun to rock out to EDM / Beat-heavy set of tracks that really help you get into the game and allow for easier traversal of the levels. Getting into the music actually helps you get through the game as most of the puzzles and obstacles are influenced directly by the music. This is the mechanic of the game that is influenced by the level. At first, I thought this game forced you to move on the beats, much like Crypt of the NecroDancer, but that isn’t the case. It increases the enjoyment I had with this title, and definitely makes the traversal of puzzles easier as I mentioned, but you can totally ignore the music and power through the level if you get to something that is tough. I appreciated this, as some of the puzzles got pretty intense. Towards the end, sometimes the music could feel a little repetitive, but that is honestly the mildest of criticisms I can come up with for this title.
The heart-pounding soundtrack is only emphasized by the look and style of the game. The game is extremely simply designed, as it’s entirely made up of cubes, spikes, and the like. However, with the random releases of bright colors, the little touches that are added (head-bobbing), and the craziness of the changes done to the levels during completion of the puzzle allow for something that is very pleasant to the eye, and made the play-through in handheld mode and docked mode super enjoyable.
Another very small tiff I have with this game is how the controls handle with the design. You can control your cube with either the lettered buttons or the D-pad. These controls have you moving in the pretty obvious left, right, up, and down directions. I found though that with the levels being placed on an angle isometrically, that when things get heated and the level is really pumping you through with some intensity that I made a lot of mistakes with the direction I wanted to head versus how my brain processed which button I then needed to press. Again, a small issue, and most of the time this was a none-issue, but wanted to point out this for the levels that you have to run through fast and loose.
The game also features a pretty fun multiplayer component, where you can rock out with friends rather than just getting your cube stabbed on its own. The multiplayer is fairly simple and doesn’t change a ton in the general gameplay loop, but getting to experience the expertly crafted puzzles with a friend was a great experience. I felt a little touch of Rock Band or Guitar Hero while playing in multiplayer with all the participants bobbing to the beat and trying to get through the title in sync.
Vectronom is a top-notch puzzle game. The geometric art style and simplicity in design is something that allows you to focus on the puzzle gameplay, and it’s something I definitely appreciated. Also, being a music game, it had music that I thoroughly enjoyed. EDM isn’t something that is in my normal listening playlist, but with the gameplay style it truly helped traverse the levels and allowed me to really get into the game overall. This is a game I would definitely recommend for anyone that enjoys puzzle games in general, and especially emphasize this title to anyone who plays games like Crypt of the NecroDancer or Thumper, as it allows you to combine that fun beat-busting gameplay with some hardcore puzzles. Grab this title and enjoy the time it takes from you!
Buy Vectronom from the Nintendo Switch eShop here.
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*Review Code Provided by Ico Partners