Thumping electronic music, twinned with brightly colored corridors and copious amounts of rolling around a room. Okay, it might sound like a flashback to the ecstasy-fueled romps of bygone university/college days (or those of parents if you haven’t been yet) but it actually relates to a game. That game is Velocibox, the twitch heavy action game from developer Shawn Beck in which you guide a box at high speed through the sort of obstacle course you’d imagine is used to train fighter pilots in our future conflict with the Moon People.
Velocibox‘s most striking element is its visual style. Skimming down tunnels of hospital white as you avoid deep blue girders with an orange cube is just the start of this contrasting color-fest. The buffet spread before your eyes changes every time you move onto the next stage. There are, however, always three different colors. It will jump from pink, blue, and red to a section framed in a chocolate brown and yellow with a black block. Less of a buffet really and more of a sandwich conveyor belt.
If Velocibox were a sandwich shop though, it’d be incredibly hard to get at the delectable treats hiding at the end like a Meatball Marinara.
Obstacles – which come in many varieties from simple walls to piston-esque shifting blocks – are without a doubt the centerpiece of Velocibox‘s gameplay. Coming towards you at a high-yet-fair pace, the patterns represent a significant challenge when first seeing them. If you so much as scrape one of these barriers, it’s game over. That is, unless you’ve got a good memory. Collections of daunting bars arrange themselves in crowds which. at first glance. make you tear the hair from your head, screaming “HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!”. Remember that important phrase – at first glance.
As you continue playing Velocibox all of these patterns start to click together. As a species, the human race hunts for patterns in everything in order to predict or influence outcomes. To succeed in Shawn Beck’s twitch-heavy title, invoking this fundamental aspect of the human brain is nothing short of necessary. While whichever obstacle is coming up next is randomly generated, each individual piece is actually part of a whole sequence. Learning the intricacies of sequences has a powerful importance and makes everything just so much easier.
Discovering the best way around every section isn’t always easy but by learning the best track to go down they become slightly easier. Actually moving through them is as simple as a plank of wood. Three different motions are available with the mind-numbingly obvious left and right making up the majority of motion needed. Where the innovative spanner comes whipping into the works is with the flip. Using this turns the tunnel 180 degrees. Doesn’t sound like much right? Well it completely transforms Velocibox, turning the game from a fairly short-sighted derivation of Race The Sun and into a beast all on its own.