Vector graphics have gotten the short end of the nostalgia stick. Lo-res sprites have been used in so many indie games it’s practically a cliche, flat unshaded polygons are rarer but Fract OSC is using them to nice effect, and even PSX-style 3D got its time in the moden-day sun with Eldritch. Vector graphics, though? Those required a special screen to see them in their full glory, and while you can emulate Tempest, Asteroids, Star Wars, Major Havoc, the full range of the Vectrex library, and all the other games that used that specific tech, there’s no recreating the clarity and smoothness of seeing the lines move on an actual vector monitor. Then again, you can’t recreate the way pixels blur into each other on a 480i CRT using a PC monitor but that doesn’t stop the NES/SNES throwbacks, so it’s not like we can’t adapt. Vector graphics had a unique look that offset its somewhat sterile feel with silky-smooth awesomeness that could throw around as much motion on the screen as you could hope for. Vektropolis is hoping to recreate that same level of smooth clarity in a lovely city-based high speed shooter, and while it’s been in the works for a couple years now the Kickstarter just launched yesterday.
The setup is simple enough- huge swarms of aliens are invading your city and you need to blast them all. The Kickstarter is specifically for the action section of the game, which will be provided with free updates with new game-changing features once its been released. Phase 2 adds multiplayer strategy, where you can either team up with or troll your friends while the aliens ravage your cities. While the campaign says Phase 2 is the major post-release update, Phase 3 is where the non-shooting aspects become really interesting as you take the spoils of combat and use them to upgrade your city, its defenses, and the ship’s capabilities. Finally, Phase 4 is for features that don’t quite fit in to the first three rounds, such as nukes or maybe the ability to influence an enemy city’s population. The developer has some fun long-term plans for Vektropolis, including some lovely city-generation details and ways to destroy it all, but the Kickstarter is to get the single-player fly & shoot off the ground.
The heart of the game, of course, is the shooting action, and this is looking absolutely lovely. Darting through nicely detailed vector buildings while raining laser death on enemies who explode in waves, or sweeping over hills covered with vector trees and brush while the city glows gently in the distance as the alien menace descends looks like a fantastic amount of glowy-vector fun. The Kickstarter campaign may be just for the action, with the tactical aspects coming along later, but that action is some of the prettiest and most stylish fly & shoot I’ve seen in a while.