Null Vector Review
Twin-stick shooters are addicting. So are roguelikes. Seeing the merits in both genres, Optical Override has combined the two in their new title Null Vector. Does this mashup prove to be a match made in heaven, or should some things just not mix?
Null Vector Review
The ultimate goal of Null Vector is one all gamers know. As a little nondescript triangle, it’s up to you to blast away at all enemies and defeat the boss at the end, nabbing powerups and a high score in the process.
However, there’s a hook in this one – it has got all of the underpinnings of a roguelike. The procedurally generated stages are just the start – players can upgrade their ship with random power-ups on the field, level up said powerups, and tweak their way to the ultimate build. Weapon accuracy, damage, your firing rate, and more can all be tweaked, with some buffs coming with compromises in other areas. Limited health makes each choice that much more important, especially when trading it in for other goodies. Crystals dropped from enemies serve as the currency in all of this, and can be exchanged for parts (or traded for HP) in certain areas. As is true of most roguelikes, permadeath is always an underlying threat that will send players right back to the title screen.
This setup adds a fair amount of variety to something that would normally be straightforward. Adept players can complete the game in around 20 minutes, but the amount of variables in play at any given moment will have players running through areas multiple times. Objectives vary from screen to screen as well – one will have players surviving waves of enemies, while another tasks players with defending a zone. This is one fast-paced game, and the tight twin-stick mechanics means that all deaths are no one’s fault but your own.
Those who have conquered the main part of Null Vector are just getting started, as there are a dozen variables that can be unlocked. Each one changes the game a good deal, and the only way to unlock them all is to try them all on for size. A challenging “Hell Mode” can also be unlocked after a few have been made available.
Null Vector takes two great things and combines them to make something even better. Its short length and lack of variables somewhat take away from this title, but those who don’t mind repeatedly playing through similar scenarios for the perfect run will enjoy the roguelike elements in play here.