In Space, Speed is your friend, as are your reflexes.

I’ve had Switch Galaxy Ultra for two weeks now, and after spending over ten hours with it, it’s safe to say that it’s been difficult to grow attached to the game. This is likely to be a difficult review in summarising my feelings for the game, as I really am struggling to find the words to speak about it.

Essentially Switch Galaxy Ultra is akin to endless runner games, except this game has levels and an end goal for each of them. The story mode sees you playing as Vince Vance, as a former racing champion he now harvests an element known as Tantalum; guided by a mysterious being, he will travel between many different planets in order to collect the rare material.

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Levels play out in a similar fashion to many other endless runner style games, with multiple tracks to switch to and the appearance of obstacles in your way as you progress. Using (hopefully) lightning quick reactions you’ll need to avoid these obstacles in order to reach the end of the level – and in order to do this you’ll need to utilize one of the game’s various control schemes.

The control schemes here are all very easy to get accustomed to; you can use the L and R trigger buttons, the analog stick, the D-Pad or the touchscreen – they all work really well, but personally I found the L and R trigger buttons more favourable.

As the game progresses you’ll find that things become more complicated and the game speeds up to incredible levels. The challenge really ramps up after the first couple of hours of gameplay and if you’re like me you’ll find it to more frustrating than entertaining.

The game has three main modes, the story mode – which contains 55 levels (all replayable), a Survival Mode – which sees you play for as long as you can before hitting an obstacle in an attempt you place on the online leaderboards, and a Multiplayer mode – which allows you to play Survival Mode or Barrier Mode in real time against friends. As for the play style of Barrier Mode in multiplayer, it sees players racing to collect keycards in order to pass through barriers – eliminating other players in their wake.

I would like to note however, that I wasn’t able to get into a multiplayer match – so your mileage may vary in that aspect.

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The main thing that really sticks out in Switch Galaxy Ultra is the graphics – the game is by far one of the better looking Vita titles I’ve played, and it would be quite fair to say that it almost looks as good as a AAA Vita title in that aspect. The soundtrack of this game is also excellent, the music is paced well with the gameplay, and the tunes get more and more frantic as the game’s difficulty ramps up through progression.

Another thing to point out is the game’s art style and designs are rather similar to the WipeOut series. This is due to the fact that a lot of people from Studio Liverpool (who worked on the WipeOut series) helped out developer Atomicon with Switch Galaxy Ultra. This will likely also explain why the game is super fast.

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It really is hard to express my true feelings towards this game; while it is addictive in nature I just can’t see myself returning to it, or at the very least not to the story mode. It hosts a very forgettable story, but is also home to fun and addicting game play. It’s likely that people who play this game will only play it in short bursts, replaying levels in order to beat your high scores.

Switch Galaxy Ultra is clearly a well made game though, but at it’s current price point it doesn’t seem like the value is there. Another nice thing about this game is that some of the proceeds from every purchase of the game go towards the Caudwell Childrens charity, which does seem like a nice touch.

There are definitely some good gameplay features here that could get some players hooked such as the survival mode, which players will constantly find themselves returning to in order to beat their high scores. With that said, Switch Galaxy Ultra won’t please everyone, but it’s definitely worth a look if you like your games with a bit of speed in them.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Presentation
Gameplay
Lasting Appeal
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Vita enthusiast and once declared as 'Champion of the Vita', Liam's love for Sony's handheld know's no bounds. He's happy playing most Vita titles and most recently found himself enjoying indie titles, but will totally give you a good run for your money in any beat-em-up
  • aros

    Out of interest, what did you think of the original PSM release? I was interested in comparisons so unusually the TVL review seems rather lacking this time. Perhaps another contributor could add a small epilogue section comparing the releases for those who have the original.

    • Liam Langan

      While you have an excellent point here, I’d never played the PSM version prior to this, I’ll ask around the team to see who has and perhaps they can offer to add their thoughts on the two versions

    • aros

      Contributors don’t seem to give much feedback to comments anymore, are you struggling to find proper Vita fans to write or something Kyle?

      • Liam Langan

        Hey there, I wrote this review, and while I understand your feedback, I’d never played the PSM version of the game, otherwise I’d definitely done a comparisons. I can, however ask around the TVL team to see who has played the original version and get them to add their two cents on comparing the versions

    • Buckybuckster

      I was thinking the same thing. Having a comparison would have been quite helpful. Especially in my case when I’m trying to decide if Ultra’s hefty price increase over the original game is worth it. I’ve held off on getting the PSM version because of Ultra, but was taken aback by it’s price.
      If you don’t mind the inquiry aros, what did you think of the PSM game? Cheers for the new years BTW!

  • aros

    Having watched Blue Maximas 20 minute video of this I would say to all S/G fans BE WARNED, DO NOT BUY THIS!!!! They have absolutely ruined the game and took away everything that made the first so fun and compelling. Bearing the first game in mind I would actually say your score looks REALLY generous here.

    AVOID THIS ONE IF YOU LIKED THE ORIGINAL. IT HAS BEEN RUINED, THE MECHANICS ARE TOTALLY DIFFERENT. SPEED AND TIME DO NOT MATTER AT ALL. EACH LEVEL IS OVER 10 MINUTES LONG! BE WARNED!

    • Buckybuckster

      Wow!! I guess I have my answer! Thanx for the info!

      • aros

        I absolutely loved the first so it’s such a shame they have made such poor decisions for the remake. Tempted to download the PSM game again after looking forward to this one.

  • Gary Nichols

    Hey guys, Gary here from Atomicom. Just wanted to add some feedback as was very surprised to see so many negative comments. which are completely unfair. I think to recommend to people NOT to buy a game without having ever played is quite harsh.

    We’ve had plenty of great reviews, may 9/10s, 8/10’s and a ton of positive comments from players on Twitter, some of those people where dedicated fans of SG and adore the new game.

    NONE of the levels are 10 minutes long at all they are designed to play in about 1-3mins each.

    To give you some background on why we made the changes, going from PSM to PS4/PSVita cross play for a small team is no easy task, the PSM version was created with Sony’s own SDK and whilst we pushed that SDK to the limit on that platform, on PS4/Vita we had to use our own technology and almost start again from scratch. The game runs at a flawless 60fps on both PS4 and Vita and is 1080p on PS4.

    The levels in the PSM version are very short, at most 25-30s levels and this just wouldn’t work on PS4 as the content needed to increase dramatically, and we felt the inclusion of the tantalum collection fitted in with the story, we’ll be monitoring feedback from people that have ACTUALLY played the game 🙂 and will be looking to make improvements through patches as and when we can.

    I’m happy to answer any questions anyone has about the game.

    Thanks

    • Jonathan Harding-Rathbone

      Hi Gary, I’m guessing maybe Liam just couldn’t get into it. I thought I’d have a look around for these reviews you mention as I was also surprised at the relatively average score and I found two reviews, a 7 and a 9 out of 10. The reviews also state levels are a few minutes long. I haven’t played either this or the PSM title so I can’t really give my own thoughts as I can’t afford it at the moment but the OP in the comments does appear to have lied somewhat and it’s nice to see a dev commenting on feedback.

    • Buckybuckster

      Thanx Gary for your info and input. I have always admired developers who are actively concerned with the gaming community. I wish there were more who shared the same commitment.

      Now knowing that the team basically had to rebuild the game’s engine, I have less of an issue with the price. I’m sure that added quite a bit to the asking price, and it’s totally justifiable. Was there ever any consideration given to having a demo? I had of list of games that I absolutely had to snag during the holidays and Ultra was on that list. It also remains the only one on the list I’ve yet to pick up. A demo would have gone a long way in helping me make my decision. When you’re gaming on limited funds, $18.99 for a digital game can seem to be alot. Especially when you consider you can’t return it if it fails to meet your expectations.

      Once again Gary, thanx for time and input! And I do feel that I have to add that I value aros’ opinion. There has been nothing that he or she has said that ever given me reason to pause and question his or her motives.

      • Gary Nichols

        Hey hey Bucky, Jonathan. Thanks for your comments:

        Game developers are gamers too 🙂 I’ve been playing games since I was little and started out with an Atari 2600 – Switch is actually based on Dodgem a very very old game I wanted to remake in 3D which you can see in the concept art but it just didn’t work very well so we straightened out the lanes and it became Switch which we launched on Android in 2011.

        We took a long time debated the price and I think it’s the one thing we really messed up on, we looked at other games and their prices and decided because it was Cross Play, Cross Buy and had online we felt it should be higher.

        If you’re unsure of the price just wait a while as we’re talking to sony about the cost of the game and hoping to sort something out with them soon.

        In terms of a demo, we would have liked to have done that but it would have added another couple of months onto the development time and we just couldn’t afford the time to do it. Actually if we hadn’t have done multiplayer we could have had a LOT more content in the game, cross play between Vita and PS4 was a really really tough process.

        Let me know if you have more questions, happy to answer them 🙂

        • Buckybuckster

          Wow Dodge’em… now that game brings back memories of my gaming youth. Pretty fun game for it’s time too. Thanx for the insight Gary! You’ve been very informative and helpful!