Published on May 16th, 2018 | by Michael Newman0
I was a junior in high school when They Might be Giants released what some might argue was one of their most popular albums, Flood. While the album is full of many incredible tracks one of my all-time favorites was the song titled “Particle Man”, which is about four different “men” (Particle man, Triangle man, Universe man and Person man) who battle each other. This may seem like an odd way to start a review of the game Vectorium, but the song and the game have more in common than one might think. So, what does Vectorium and Particle Man have in common? Simply put, they both have geometric shapes that battle one another, “they have a fight Triangle wins…Triangle man”.
Vectorium is what most folks would refer to as a twin-stick shooter, one stick is used to move your vehicle around the screen and the other stick is used for aiming and firing your main gun. Your first vehicle is the “plane” (which like the song is really nothing more than a triangle), and you shoot your weapons at various geometric shapes that are shooting back at you. You will battle triangles, hexagons, squares and all sorts of creatures made up of simple geometric shapes. Each level ends with a huge boss battle against some gigantic shape or geometric-based design. As you progress through the levels you unlock other vehicles, each having their own set of weapons and special attacks, and as your score increases, you unlock various special abilities. After you are defeated you can compare your time and score with the online leaderboards to see how you match up against other geometric warriors around the world.
The game can be played using a gamepad or the keyboard, although by design a twin-stick shooter tends to play best when twin-sticks are involved and Vectorium is no different. For those insistent on using a mouse and keyboard, your typical WASD keys are used to move your vehicle around the play area and your mouse controls the aiming and firing of your primary weapon. With either method you can achieve your goal, which is to essentially move your chosen vehicle around a circular arena while shooting and evading everything coming your way.
Graphically the game is very simple, with rudimentary geometric shapes as both your own ship and the enemies you fight. The music is catchy and techno, but unfortunately does NOT include the They Might be Giants song I mentioned above (it is still okay if you come away from the game with that song in your head). For fans of this genre (or arcade shooters in general), the game is fast, furious and quite difficult to play and master. After a few hours of playing it does tend to get very repetitive, and while the enemies are certainly diverse with their makeup and their attacks, you are still essentially doing the same thing for every level. Blast the enemies, survive, face the end boss…rinse and repeat.
My biggest gripe about this game is that if you set the graphic level to High (or by changing the level from 2 to 3 and setting the anti-aliasing to Max) the frame levels drop to a degree that causes the game to hang, stutter, and become practically unplayable. Now my system may be starting to show its age running a 5930K and 1080 GTXs in SLI, but it certainly should have been up to snuff to play the game at 100FPS without issue. There were no discernable improvements bumping up the graphic quality, and with the framerate issues, I had to put it back down to 2 to make it playable. This is likely due to some code tuning that needs to be done, and hopefully is something that can be addressed in the near future.
For the price of $4.99 on Steam it’s a game that I can easily recommend for those fans of twin-stick shooters such as (the old-school gamer in me would say) games like Robotron. The enemies, while simplistic looking, are varied and the game will absolutely test your reflexes. Much like older arcade titles this game is hard, but there is always a certain level of satisfaction defeating the end boss and unlocking the next level. Once you complete each level, other than trying to beat your own time/score there is likely little for you to come back to play, but then again who says you will be able to beat every level in the first place. So, are you up for the challenge?
What I liked: Fast game play, Simple to learn but difficult to master
What I liked less: Gets repetitive quickly, occasionally will hang even on a top end system
3.5 out of 5 stars