Short of grabbing a couple of paddles and playing a game of Pong, you don’t get much more ‘retro’ than a vector game. Tempest, Space Fury, Armor Attack…those are the things that little boys’ dreams were made of. Now Uncade has come along and has given us Kid Vector, a tough as nails platformer that takes the vector game, gives it a sweet 2.5D modern sheen, and gives our inner-child the chance to squeal with delight while we die horrible, horrible deaths.
This geometrical trip down memory lane takes us through 15 levels divided into 3 worlds, and for all intents and purposes is a pretty standard platformer. You collect coins, avoid all kinds of hideous traps and enemies, and try to make it to the end of the levels with your nerves intact. Did we mention that the game was tough? But not cheesy tough. When you die, you won’t feel like it’s because the game was unfair.
Only you can prevent jagged fires
You can get three different types of medals at the end of each level: one for collecting all of the coins in the level, one for finding the hidden stars and one for reaching the goal in a certain amount of time. Good luck with that last one.
While the idea behind Kid Vector isn’t new, it’s the presentation and gameplay that’ll win you over. Back in the day, vector graphics used primitive geometrical shapes in an attempt to produce more detailed images than the hardware at the time was capable of producing with sprites and pixels. Kid Vector uses the same theory. The main character is basically a stick-figure with a hat, and the levels are rendered with the same simplistic approach.
But Uncade has done something special with Kid Vector, which uses modern graphics technology to give the mere shapes some depth and the levels a lot of liveliness. Colors explode all over the place, spaceships made out of triangles and circles will zoom towards and away from the screen to try and beam you up to death, flames that look like colorful zig-zags try and burn you, laser cannons that come straight from a B-grade science fiction movie try and blast you, and clouds and planets made out of squares and octagons float behind you on a different plane. It’s like a mathematician’s nightmare fueled by some serious psychedelics, and you can easily get lost in the rapturous insanity going on all around you. The only real downside to this is that sometimes the objects seem to blend into one another and it can be tough to differentiate between something that’s safe and something that can kill you.
Kid Vector is pure joy to play. The depth of creativity and passion that went into it is evident in every frame. The controls are fantastic, the graphics and music are spectacular and absorbing, and the game is challenging enough without making you want to pull your hair out. We wish there were more levels, but the ones that are there will give even the best players a serious trial. It’s charming with a singular personality that will draw you in and make you want to keep playing even after you’ve finished it once through. Uncade has made a real treasure here, and even if you don’t have those old retro memories that we do, you’ll find a lot to love with Kid Vector.