Silhouetted heroes specializing in parkour? Sounds vaguely familiar. If you’re not on the up and up when it comes to the sport (free-running, if you choose), a fantastic game released a few years ago known as Mirror’s Edge explored it quite competently in a refreshing futuristic adventure. Facebook dev Nekki (known for runaway hit Shadow Fight) takes fluid movement, engaging action, and simplistic graphics and weaves a symphony of parkour and addictive endless running that makes for a fantastic on-the-go game.
Sometime in the future, you’re on the lam. The authorities are on your tail, and your only objective is to get the heck out of Dodge. You’re constantly being chased by faceless and nameless agents armed with tasers who aim to stop you by any means possible. You’re tasked with using the only true skill you have: freerunning. Using this invaluable gift, you’re able to fly through construction areas, city streets, and various other areas with the greatest of ease. Slip up, and then it’s game over.
Vector aims to keep you on your toes, though. By the time the first few levels have whizzed by and you’ve successfully dodged several pipes and obstacles, it’s already thinking of ways to further confuse you. This is some difficult stuff– don’t be alarmed if early on in the game you find yourself succumbing to some missed jumps, deaths by taser, and other obnoxious game-ending errors that force you to get up and get right back on the horse. Once you conquer a difficult part, however, it feels great. It’s not difficult in a punishing way, but in a manner that reinforces learning from your mistakes. It’s refreshing. And that’s what makes it work so well.
You need little more than three on-screen power-up item buttons and simple directional controls to get started, and they work surprisingly well with the screen layout. In-game purchases are available to offer you additional moves and power-ups for when you’re feeling like you just can’t take the stress in later levels, but in-game gold offers plenty of opportunities for additional help if you can’t put up real cash to deal, which is a great move on Nekki’s end– if you do choose to buy additional power-ups, you’re not paying an arm and a leg for them.
While Vector has a crisp aesthetic tone and some great tunes to back it up, it can feel a bit repetitive at times. You will need to replay specific levels in order to advance and pick up new skills, which are required for higher scores. Of course, this is made quicker by spending real money– but when you can grind it out, why do so? This leads to an endless circle that some players may be turned off by, but you can’t fault a Facebook developer for crafting a system that so ingeniously encourages you to pay more money to get more out of your game.
Vector is a fantastic free-running simulation with plenty to love. Fans of Mirror’s Edge or parkour as a whole would do well to check it out, especially if App Store seems to be overflowing with copies of copies– at least this one puts a new twist on things.