Set in a near-future, Orwellian society, Vector has you leap into the shoes of a businessman-gone-rebel who happens to be surprisingly proficient in parkour (“Parkour”: Noun. Definition: Really cool running). If you’ve played the iOS version of side-scrolling, free-running console port Mirror’s Edge, you’ll be familiar with the way this game handles. Don’t think Vector is a carbon copy of Edge’s touch version, though. Vector is far better.
Gameplay in Vector is laid out across two landscapes, each containing several individual levels. In each…you run. See, the business your character just fled from isn’t happy about your little escape attempt, and sends acrobatic policemen after you to stop your unruly behavior. Your character is weaponless, and the game gives no way to directly or indirectly hurt your unwanted pursuers. Your only option is to maneuver across the city by running faster than the tazer-toting guys behind you. To do this, you’ll simply swipe the screen in various ways to jump, slide, and roll beautifully fluidly across the cityscape towards the end of each level.
Now, when I say “beautifully fluidly”, I’m not exaggerating. The character physics in Vector are more flowing and realistic than most console games could even think about emulating, thus, seeing them on a touch device is miraculous. No, the physics system doesn’t make the game good on its own, but it’s too well-made to not earn a mention.
Throughout the game, Vector doesn’t really stray from its aforementioned swipe-to-maneuver mechanics. The only real peripheral in the gameplay is the implementation of a “trick” system. Basically, the trick system has you earn (or buy) in-game coins to unlock certain special moves that your character can perform when prompted in a level. Although these tricks are neat, they don’t really add much to the game, aside from giving completionists something to perfect when they go for a three star run (more on that below). Overall, the trick system just isn’t deep enough to really change the gameplay for the better, mostly because you can only use them when prompted. It would have been much more fun to have been able to use them at any time during runs. Oh well.
The main directive for people who want to replay the levels is a traditional three star system. To get the required perfect score on each level (the three stars), you’ll need to complete every trick at the right moment in each level, and you’ll need to pick up every collectible (which are floating boxes and coins) in the stage. While getting these flawless scores is not incredibly engaging, it’s enough to sprinkle the game with a little more draw for perfectionists.
As far as aesthetic polish, the graphics fit perfectly with the silhouetted characters, and the pulsing sound adds a sense of “futuristic panic” without becoming annoying. The overall art build in Vector is solid as a rock.
Before I forget, there are is a small selection of micro-transactions in Vector (AGH!!!). You can basically buy coins with real cash that you can then spend on tricks. The tricks aren’t required though, (unless you feel you need to get three stars on every stage) so you can choose to ignore these in-app-purchases.
While not perfect, Vector is a near-flawlessly polished, free-running sidescroller (mouthful). If you enjoyed the iOS port of Mirror’s Edge, or if you just want a solid, frantic sidescroller to pass the time, Vector is ripe for a purchase.