You know, I liked Vector Madness ($1.00) a little bit more when it was released two months ago, under the more-appropriate name of KILLBOX. A level’s backgrounds don’t normally make a game what it is, and they are far from the focus of this new version, although the sparse visuals here do tend to make things… well, more boring to look at, in comparison. Anyway, my trigger finger digresses.
Dude is super dead, dude.
Guns are the real draw here. Guns, Guns, Guns, and yes, more Guns. So many guns you’ll have bullet casings flying out of your ears, stacking up around you like the so many faceless corpses you’ll leave in your wake. Over 200(!!!) firearms, if you’re putting a number on it (and I am), spread across the entire spectrum of human weaponry. Assault Rifles, Shotguns, Handguns, SMGs, and some specials (nailgun, anyone?), each with its own stats, sound, and kick. Top it off with some ‘bullet time’ for good measure. If that sounds like your thing, you’ll be a kid in a lethal candy store for this one.
‘Campaign’ works as a simplified wave shooter and a means to an end, rewarding you with plentiful unlocks and the ability to purchase said guns between rounds with the dough you’ve earned. To experiment with your new weapons in a less stressful environment, there’s, ah… ‘Experiment’ mode, which hands over your entire mess of (unlocked) guns to play with, without the constant money drain to worry about.
In that way, Vector Madness and KILLBOX are less a ‘game’ and more of an actual murder simulator. And no, I’m not ringing any moral alarms or instigating a social conversation on ‘Second Amendment Rights’, just stating a joke-y sort of fact. Case in point, the ‘wave shooter’ format here is totally under-cooked. Between the occasional item drops, like ammo or health, or, you know, more guns, enemies just sort of wander in, asking to get shot. No real challenge or big deal.
Dude is still dead, dude.
Sure, there’s the real sense of progression, unlocking weapons (and zany character accessories!) as you advance, but the entire thing lacks emotion, merely an excuse to test out your favorite brand of gun against largely feckless targets. The initial thrill of that starts to dull (no future pun intended) quickly, and the stark grey backgrounds just make it feel all the more clinical.
Heavy arsenal aside, you’re still just a dude, dressing up like a dude that’s shooting other dudes disguised to look like bad dudes, without much meaningful variation. If you’re dead set on the idea, though, I’d recommend picking up the former version of KILLBOX over Vector Madness. Least you’ll have a little something more to look at than the fifty shades of grey on display here.