Utter the words “running game” and it is a fair chance that most people will think you are referring to Imangi’s benchmark title, Temple Run. Which is fair enough – after all, that series DID spark off the constant running game revolution pretty much as Angry Birds made fowl flinging a rage – but is just a tad unfair, because there are a few other decent running titles out there. Some of course are out and out Temple Run clones (Secret Agent Dash, for instance), and some – rare ones – try to follow a totally different tack while sticking to the ‘run, man, run’ concept.
And one of these is Vector.
Available in freemium and paid forms for both Android and iOS, Vector is a running game, but unlike Temple Run and its clones, is pretty much a side scroller. Sounds boring, right? Well, don’t get taken in by the sound. For, Vector throws in quite a few spins into the running formula. For one, it is about one of the best-looking side scrolling titles we have seen. And for another, it has got something that even Temple Run does not.
Take the 1984 Macintosh ad. Throw in a few elements of the Matrix. Add some very good sound and music, and well, you have the essence of Vector. There is no real dialogue or exchange. But the whole idea of you representing a dark silhouette running across the screen pursued by another is definitely chilling. Well, it is certainly a lot more realistic than being chased by monkey-vulture blends. The game opens with a scene right out of Orwell’s (or Apple’s, depending on which generation you belong to) 1984, with your character (no facial features, just a dark silhouette) sitting in a cubicle with a pair of earphones and a Big Brother figure on a screen assuring you that you will have no problems or stress, as long as you obey like everyone else does.
Of course, you don’t like the idea of your independence being trampled upon. Or maybe you don’t like those headphones (they are not EarPods after all). Whatever the reason, you scream, throw aside those phones…and start running away from it all, pursued hotly by Big Brother’s guards. You slide across rooftops, jump into buildings, smash through windows, hurdle stools, slide under desks…and do a whole lot more (think Parkour moves!) as you run from level to level seeking freedom. Or better headphones. Whatever. Just remember that it is game over if the man behind you gets you.
Gameplay is incredibly simple – you keep running if you do not touch the screen. You swipe up to jump, swipe down to slide under and tap arrows and icons that come along the way to get a special power (more acrobatic desk clearances and the like) or to just collect cash. You can use the cash to get power ups, and well, if you find the tapping to collect process tedious, just buy them with real cash (freemium game, remember?). It is all incredibly addictive, especially as there is some sort of a plot and progress is not just a matter of distance covered. And there is lots of running to do – there are three locales with dozens of sub sections under each, even in the free version of the game, and a few more thrown in if you purchase the paid version. You can of course, also just go back and have a re run to see if you can do the level just a bit faster.
Ambience, ease of play, very good graphics and some super sound – all these come together to make Vector about as good a running game as we have seen. We honestly felt more involved playing it than while playing Temple Run for the simple reason that it does not feel cartoon-y.
Want to give the rebel in your heart a good workout? Play Vector. You won’t smile while playing it, but your heart will beat faster. And there are not too many games about which we can say that. Download? Absolutely!