Vex is a 3-D puzzle platformer with an arcadey feeling to it. While the game mechanics are kept simple, it is quite challenging and can be hair-pullingly tough at times, yet retains the fun factor that you might expect from a platformer.
(+) Cube Warrior
That title might be a bit misleading, but I couldn’t find a more appropriate title for this section. You are basically a cube that has to go around interweave between other cubes and pass through some timing specific sections to reach the end point of a stage. One of the power ups available allow you to push cubes aside, so basically you are cube fighting other cubes. The game uses a lot of physics based movement and hence you can even maneuver edges if you get the controls right. The movement can feel a bit clunky in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, things become easier.
The gameplay is very simplistic and every level has a set amount of enemies and has different power-ups placed in capsule like structures, which give you various abilities. More description will just spoil the game, so trying to be spoiler free, all I would say is that the game has enough variety in elements to keep you going through it’s 2-4 hour long campaign. Note: The last dimension, Quanta, is pretty exciting and adds another tangent to the challenge.
(+) Eyes and Ears:
Visually the game is very simplistic, and isn’t a technical marvel (Well so are many indie titles), but the art direction is good. The different visual settings do impact the look of the game quite significantly. Apart from that, the game looks visually calm during three quarters of it’s run time.
Complimenting the visual calmness are the soothing music tracks which, in similar fashion to the visuals, are only so for three quarters of the game. Yes the Quanta dimension is pretty dark and the music pretty much reflects it in many ways.
(+) Level Design:
Now, in a platformer, the most important factor for determining a good game is the design of the levels and here Vex does the job brilliantly. The different dimensions allow for various levels that are diverse and feel true to their respective dimensions. The environments are well crafted and as mentioned above the levels can vary from ‘candy eating easy’ to ‘garment tearingly tough’. So yeah the difficulty slider does swing in various angles. As mentioned above, the movement is physics based, so you can actually use the shape of the cube to your advantage while trying to cross a weirdly angled obstacle. The one thing that developers should have put in was some verticality to the levels which would have made the game more exciting, but well I wouldn’t complain about that, because I enjoyed it irrespective.
(-) The Bummer
Now I can’t pick a very specific flaw from my side, because as I have said in my earlier reviews, I have played relatively less platformers than I have played other genres, and in my recent slew of playing great platformers, Vex continues that trend. One flaw that does come to mind is the lack of a story. The beginning of the game has a short story about the overall plot of the game, but it is never mentioned anywhere in the entire play through, so that’s one. And the other being that it is not something innovative, so these are the only two flaws I can think of. Also, the game does not have any human element added to it- No dialogues, no character etc, which might be a drawback for many modern gamers.
Just to sum up some points that I didn’t elaborate.
- There are 45 levels, 40 of which are gained through directly completing the levels, 4 which are found in some secret way and the last one unlocks when you completed the 4 secret levels. For a completionist, this game is perfect since the level of reward for a small replay is getting a whole new level.
- The game has three camera modes- First Person (I would rather call it shoulder view), Third person view and Aerial view, so you can play in which ever mode you are comfortable with.