Reinventing the wheel is all very well and good but sometimes it’s nice to just shoot everything without too many complications. Vectorium is a new twin-stick shooter launching today filled with weapons, ships, bullet patterns, and simple shapes rendered in limited colors for a nice lo-fi look. Each of the fifteen levels has its own mix of enemies leading to a unique boss, and while the action doesn’t redefine arcade shooting it’s more than good enough not to need to.
The intro tutorial covers the basics- the ship has four weapons that get unlocked as the score goes up, a dash move that regenerates over time, and a bullet-clearing flash that’s limited to a few uses per level. Initially all you’ve got is a decently powerful gun plus the first secondary weapon, and there’s no reason not to constantly shoot both at all times. The weapons that get added to the arsenal as the score rises both get more powerful and require a longer cooldown, but in practice I found that I’d hold down both bumpers and triggers to keep firing everything as often as possible, although it’s probably smarter to use at least the last two extra weapons more tactically. The arena is just a giant circle, nothing fancy, and both your and enemy bullets travel from one side to the other even when off-screen. This can lead to the occasional surprise-hit when you can’t see a bigger enemy’s wind-up, but usually the bullets don’t move so quickly that you can’t save yourself with a dash.
The first ship comes equipped with a fairly standard weapon loadout- gun, missiles, spread-gun, lasers, and backup barrage, and each weapon unlock powers up the previous weapons so they remain useful even as the enemy swarm gets thicker. It doesn’t take long to unlock the other available ships, though, and they all play differently from each other. The electro-ship doesn’t have the range but comes with twice the health of any other, and it’s weapons pack a nice punch if you can get in close. The beam ship is for focused attacks, Lord has minions, and Slayer is a combination of the other four. There are also two hidden ships to quest after, although I’ll admit to not seeing either yet. The initial early levels don’t take too much effort to beat but the later bosses don’t go down easy.
Vectorium is a stylish twin-stick arcade shooter with rock-solid action and a nice variety of enemies to keep you moving. Dodging a bullet-flail, or a spinning Chinese firework pinwheel spamming a bullet hell spiral pattern while enemies drift along taking potshots from the sides is always fun, especially when you can throw back as much firepower as is coming your way. The large, creative bosses end each level on a high note, and the time-stamp at the end lets you know the five minutes the level felt like was actually only maybe 2:15 assuming you survive a scorpion with bullet-pincers, giant multi-attack tank, bullet-sword gladiator, or any of the other end-level encounters, of course. Plus any game with a boss that’s a tribute to the excellent Soundodger+ gets bonus points from me.
Vectorium has released on Steam and should be available now. Check out the trailer below to see the shootiness in all its lo-fi arcade frenzy.