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Double the Velocity

FuturLab's impressive Vita puzzle shooter Velocity is getting a sequel with some interesting new gameplay additions.

If you own a PSP or Vita and haven't yet played Velocity, you should do something about that. Here's why.

If, on the other hand, you have played Velocity, either in its original PlayStation Minis incarnation or its newer, enhanced, Vita-tastic Ultra version, you'll know what a great game it is. Surely it's about time we saw a proper sequel, though, rather than a remake?

Developer FuturLab agrees, which is why it announced the official follow-up at Gamescom. Velocity 2X, as the new game is called, will be coming to both PS4 and Vita at some as-yet-unannounced point in the near future. And it looks to be a big leap over Velocity in a number of ways.

The most notable thing to my eyes is the fact that you're not only piloting your teleport-happy ship through increasingly labyrinthine complexes any more -- now you'll also be required to jump out of your ship every so often and engage in some puzzle platforming gameplay, too. Judging from the gameplay teaser, it looks very much as if these two aspects will be integrated into each level rather than completely separate experiences -- the example in the trailer appears to show the ship reaching an impassable forcefield, and the player having to search for a switch to turn it off on foot.

The previous game featured a variety of different level types, each of which emphasized the various mechanics to different degrees. Sometimes you'd have a short time limit and have to get through as quickly as possible; sometimes it would be an enemy-heavy level in which your shooting skills would be tested; sometimes it would be a complex level in which you'd have to plan your route carefully in order to find everything. The addition of the side-on platformer mechanics to Velocity 2X provides the potential for even more variety in the levels, which will help keep the game fresh and interesting as you progress.

The new game's current artwork is the work of a team led by Hussain Sheikh, lead visual effects programmer on the criminally underrated racing game Split/Second, and has a very clean look strongly reminiscent of the comic book-style interstitial sequences from Velocity Ultra. Apparently the look will likely change somewhat as the game gets closer to release, though it's already looking rather nice. We can expect full 1080p visuals on PS4 and Vita's native 960x544 resolution, both running at a solid 60 frames per second.

This time around, the side-on platformer segments also mean we get to see a lot more of female protagonist Kai Tana, too, who was previously confined to occasional appearances in cutscenes. FuturLab says that Velocity 2X will feature a much "richer" story that follows on from the first game's ending -- the original's narrative was largely restricted to pre-level static images and unlockable text files, though to be fair, I doubt many people played Velocity for its story.

You can see everything FuturLab has announced about the new game on the official site; further details will be forthcoming in the weeks to come, with some significant announcements expected at Eurogamer Expo at the end of next month. I'll be on hand to talk to the team, so if you have any specific questions about the upcoming sequel, fire 'em over!

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