Having never played a version of the game before I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but after only seconds into the tutorial I knew that this was a game that I would be hooked on. The concept of collecting crates while shooting and dodging enemies on a single screen is simplistic but also very fun. The game also plays well using the controls on the Vita, and with how precise you have to be with timing jumps and shots some times, I cant imagine playing any other way. While having only three levels is a bit of a downer the multiple unlockable weapons, characters, and level modes means that this is a game that I will be coming back to time and again.
In Rebel you take control of an escaped prisoner whose only means of defense is dodging enemy fire in the hopes of making them shoot each other. Constantly trying to line up shots so that they hit other enemies (and not yourself) is a blast and there is good strategy involved since point values increase when the same enemy destroys multiple other enemies. You also collect stash, randomly appearing in game and after each match based on how you did, that you can trade in for power-ups, costumes, and other game modes which really add to the replay value of the title. Once unlocked you can equip up to three different power-ups, such as armor that can take a hit for you or having the ability to run faster, so it will be interesting to unlock and experiment to find what loadout works best for you.
Beats Slider takes the sliding puzzles that we have all experienced before and adds a musical twist. You have to solve each puzzle by sliding each piece to its correct location but once you do it adds beats to the level song. So as you are solving the puzzle the soundtrack for the level is changing and you will hear the full riff once the puzzle is complete. Its a really neat mechanic that is well done. You are timed on each of the 16 levels and can be awarded a gold, silver, or bronze medal based on how long you took to solve it. Unfortunately if you are like me and suck at sliding puzzles you probably wont win many medals (the bronze medal time on the first level was 1:30, it took me 7:23…). There is a cheat system in place though that can use four times per puzzle that automatically puts a single piece in its correct location for the cost of 10 seconds on the clock, which should alleviate frustrations for the less skilled players (i.e me). The music in the game is well done and the ability to remix songs after completing a puzzle is a nice touch, but this game will offer the most enjoyment to people who are fans of sliding puzzles.
In Fuel Tiracas you need to boot up nuclear reactors to create a breathable atmosphere on the planet Tiracas. You do this by by taping fuel nodes to fill up constantly draining fuel gauges to certain levels. These fuel nodes appear on the left and right sides of the screen and the sequence that they appear is unique for each level, which means that the more you replay a level and learn the sequence the faster you can complete that level. And you will want to complete those levels as fast as you can since this game supports online leaderboards. Although not tied to PSN (you just have to input a name when you complete a level) its a really nice addition to have. As you get to higher levels the game will start to add more fuel gauges you have to fill and different fuel cells, such as ones you have to tap multiple times or not tap at all, which really add to the challenge. The game also includes in game trophies and as a bonus for fans of Futurlab’s past titles it is also set in the same universe as Velocity. As the cheapest PSM game at launch it is also one of the best offering fast paced and fun gameplay that is sure to give your thumbs a good workout.