When big noodle gets you down, then the only thing a little noodle shop can do to stay ahead of the game is make sure they can deliver those slurp-able delectables faster, more effectively, and while they’re still piping hot. Even if it means dodging the slippery fists of those greedy Corpos. To do that you’ll have to utilize your skills as a noodle ninja by jumping, sliding, dashing, and slashing your way through the competition in the latest precision platformer from Shotgun Anaconda and Top Hat Studios.
I will admit, I don’t play many precision platformers, but those that I have played like Celeste and Super Meat Boy, have been some of my favorites of the past few years. So, when we got a chance to play one where your main objective is to deliver bowls of steaming hot noodles quickly, we jumped at the opportunity. I mean, the concept alone had me convinced that it would at least appeal to my ramen loving sensibilities. Plus, you can never go wrong with a slick, neon-drenched, cyberpunk-esque pixel aesthetic.
I’m happy to say that those pixel aesthetics I mentioned are probably one of my favorite parts. The bright colors of the neon lights, backdropped with dark colors of the cityscape, adds a lot of atmosphere to the game. Which is accented perfectly by the wonderfully catchy synthwave soundtrack. Not only is it a feast for your eyes and ears, but it pumps you up as you speed through each level trying to reach your objective as quickly as you can. That said, you don’t get much time to really soak it all in since you’ll be trying to speed through each stage, but even as it zooms by in a blur it’s still pretty dang eye catching.
When it comes to playing the game however, that’s where my opinion kind of wavers. On one hand, I love the concept, as well as the core gameplay loop, which has you trying to reach an objective by avoiding obstacles and stringing all of your abilities together so you can get there as quickly as possible. Whether that’s by double jumping, wall climbing, flinging your sword to activate switches, or sliding under hazards. And when it all comes together, playing as a noodle ninja, never felt so good. However, this isn’t always the case.
The first culprit, at least in my mind, were the controls. When I first started playing the game, they felt a bit awkward, and the default button layout just didn’t feel intuitive. I found myself hitting the wrong buttons more often than I care to admit. This could have easily been remedied by allowing players to reconfigure the button layouts to their preference, but unfortunately no such options exist. Of course, I did eventually get used to what buttons did what, but it wasn’t just the button layout that I had issues with when it came to the controls. Occasionally, I found that inputs wouldn’t even be recognized, especially when trying to string various moves together, or I’d get snagged on the environment because I didn’t realize that the object wasn’t just a part of the background. In that way Velocity Noodle suffered from what I like to call, the “Sonic” syndrome. Where the game wants you to go fast, but it puts so many snags in the way, that you can never go as fast as you want. This was particularly glaring during the chase sequences where you have to escape from an enemy. Luckily the chase sequences were still fun, even if they had the potential to be the most frustrating parts.
Taking everything into consideration, even some of my gripes, Velocity Noodle really is an enjoyable game, and an easy recommendation. Most notably if something like speed running and chasing leaderboards is your thing. I liked that there were set times for you to beat in each stage, and if you’re able to beat them, then you’ll be rewarded with bronze, silver, or gold trophies. If you collect enough, it could then be used to unlock the harder versions of the stages. Also, the “quick restart” button is an absolute lifesaver when noodling for the top spot. So if you’re looking for something that challenges you to get better and better, and lays on the charm while it’s doing it, then I don’t think you can go wrong. You just might need to be patient with its occasional quirks.
Velocity Noodle is a fast paced precision platformer, where high speed noodle deliveries are paired with stunning graphics, banging tunes, and personal bests. Two parkour portage thumbs UP from us!