Who here has ever played the WipeOut series of futuristic racers? I’m sure the older gamers out there have as it was quite a popular series when it was first introduced on the PS2. What made it great was the sense of speed you got from that game and the techno based soundtrack. There really hasn’t been another series like that that I can remember, until now. Switch Galaxy Ultra from developer Atomicom is very much about speed. It too is a futuristic based racer with an awesome soundtrack whose main focus is to go fast. There are no opponents to race against, just you against the clock while searching for the rarest of elements, Tantalum.
There is a story attached to Switch Galaxy Ultra, though if you ask me what it’s about, I still don’t entirely know. There seems to be this huge back story that is told to you via in-game comic books, but if you’re not a fan of reading comic books, it can be hard to follow. All I know is that you play as Vince Vance, one of the last remaining humans and one of Dakur’s best pilots. Head of Dakur Technology, Amur Ness, has tasked you to go out into the galaxy and collect the valuable element Tantalum. That’s basically all you really need to know as what you’ll be doing for the most part is going fast and collecting as much Tantalum as you can.
Switch Galaxy Ultra is about speed and quick reflexes. Gameplay consists of gaining maximum speed for fast times and being able to switch lanes quickly in order to avoid obstacles that slow you down. Controls are very simple with the switching of lanes handled by the top bumpers and other minor actions via the face buttons. There are portions of the game that require rotational movement and in those instances, you’ll be using the left thumb stick. You can use the thumb stick to switch lanes as well, but it just seems more intuitive and easier using the top bumpers.
Basically the game is setup where you must race from point A to point B. There are no opponents to race as you’ll be mainly racing against he clock. The faster you go, the faster your times. You pilot a ship that must stay on “lanes” in order to make it through space. Obstacles on lanes can be energy walls or gaps in the lanes and you must do your best to avoid them. To do so, all you have to do is switch lanes. As you move along, you’ll start to gain more and more speed via the boost sections. Keep up your momentum and you’ll stay fast. If you hit an energy wall or gap, it will seriously slow you down, affecting your time.
The point of gaining speed is so you can hit the “bonus” section of the game which is the turbo tunnels. This is where you go to collect rare Tantalum which is needed to advance through each stage. The game play in this section differs from the main game as you can move your ship all around the screen in order to collect the glowing orbs.
For the most part, the controls are pretty precise, except for when you’re in this section collection Tantalum. The thumb stick controls are just so twitchy that it makes it very hard to be precise. There’s not way to adjust the level of sensitivity either. If there was, it might make this portion of the game a bit better. As of now, it just seems more difficult than it should be to collect Tantalum.
If you don’t care for the Story mode, there is a Survival mode you can play that is basically an endless mode to see how far you can go without crashing. This essentially transforms the game into an endless runner style game, though the game calls it training. What’s nice is that this mode allows you to earn money that you can use to upgrades in the regular game.
On the graphic side of things, the game looks very good and has a “Wipeout” feel to it. There is definitely that feel of speed in the game thanks to how slick everything looks. It definitely has that whole futuristic feel going for it. What’s also rather interesting is the way the story is told in the game. Yes, there is a story that seems pretty deep and its presented like a comic book. Again, the art style here is amazing but the text is a bit on the small size. Music in the game is also very good and has a trance/electronic dance feel to it. It helps keep everything moving along and adds to the sense of speed.
Switch Galaxy Ultra is a fun little, casual style game. It’s not what I would consider a hardcore racing game but it will satisfy anyone’s need for speed. The graphics are really gorgeous despite the fact that the background doesn’t really change too much. Everything in this game is packaged tightly and is overall, a very solid PS Vita title. I haven’t really had a chance to check it out on the PS4, but I can see this as being one of those games where if you wanted to just play something for a few minutes, this could be that game and you’d be totally satisfied with what you played.
Review code provided to us by the publisher/developer.