From time to time I like to browse the app stores for games to try out (even if I rarely get round to playing them!). One of the games that I frequently see on the various stores is Vector HD, so I finally gave it a go. Whilst I wanted to understand what makes it successful, I was very much expecting a slick, stylish and exciting runner with a bit of flair. Perhaps with something great on top that I wasn’t expecting though.
Initial impressions were indeed of slick and stylish looking game. It is simple, clean and also very nicely polished. The intro video immediately reminded me of the classic Apple advert that made no sense, which whilst copying it may seem “cool” and “hip”, I was instantly disinterested… but I get why it might be attractive to players.
So the first two parts of my expectations being matched, now for the engaging and fun part! Sadly that just didn’t happen for me. The pace was a bit meh, jumping was slow and the game really lacked punch. Some of the animations were laborious and that impacted on my perceived pace of the game. Nice smooth animations are good and all (although Vector’s animations are hardly the best) but not at the expense of gameplay and I found it slowed you down too much when climbing or sliding. Surely the runner dude isn’t meant to be some guy with a gut trying to get fit ahead of a holiday by the sea? (New game concept: Get fatty fit!)
The tricks seem like a nice touch but they seemed to be in random positions rather than letting players express themselves, which usually balances risk of mistakes slowing you down and benefit of points. Half the fun and challenge with tricks is meant to be knowing when to go for it!
My other gripe was that I either won by a country mile or got caught. This is probably in large part due to the loss of momentum from one mistake, which is magnified by the character taking an age to get back up to speed. I would have thought that the designers would want you to be having close chases where you have the enemy breathing down your neck. Instead I ran clear to the point where I couldn’t see the enemy then one mistake and they were right on me, possibly beating me. The inconsistency in how you lost was annoying as well. Sometimes the enemy was ahead of me, sometimes level and once even just behind me. It didn’t make a lot of sense to have this variation.
So yeah, the game lacked punch and thrills. Maybe I’ve just been impatient but this seems like yet another meh game at the top end of the charts, taking unoriginal mechanics and focusing on making it look cool. Maybe folk just like that? Not me though.