Developer: Shotgun Anaconda
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
Genre(s): Action, Platformer, Arcade
Platform: Nintendo Switch (also available on PlayStation, Xbox, and PC)
Age Rating: PEGI 7
Release Date: 27/04/2023
A code was provided for review purposes
The One-Stop Shop for Velocity Noodles
Velocity Noodle is an action-platforming video game where I worked as a noodle delivery person working to deliver noodles in a dangerous city. It is a simple premise, and instead of crazy antics, the level designs focus on replaying levels and completing them quickly. Did the experience deliver what I hoped it would? Find out in this Rapid Review.
The storyline I explored throughout my playthrough was very simple. While I had a couple of conversations with my boss, there were no gripping dialogue lines or riveting moments to encapsulate me. The lack of detail in the story was not an issue, as was not expecting a thorough storyline in Velocity Noodle.
However, at the beginning of the game, these conversations were quite frequent, serving as both a plot tool and a tutorial. While these teaching moments were helpful, they often hindered the pacing of the game. Many of the first levels began with long segments of text, sometimes taking as long as the levels themselves. Since many of the mechanics are self-explanatory and the plot did not immerse me, these often disappointed me. However, as time went on, these passages became significantly less frequent and were hardly used a quarter of the way through the game. Largely, they did not impact my experience. Still, while I was not looking for story content, the dialogue did not excite me.
Sliding Through the Streets
While I did not look to Velocity Noodle for a gripping story, I expected the primary gameplay loop to be engaging, and for the most part, it is. Action is fast-paced, my character has a detailed combination of different moves to chain together, and the levels are designed for me to navigate through them as quickly as possible. There are even built-in reward systems, such as medals to earn for beating different times and hidden collectables in each of the levels. Conceptually, Velocity Noodle features exactly what a speed-running game should offer.
However, the game is far less riveting than I would have expected. I think the first part of this stems from the control scheme. I can walk left and right, I can jump, I can dash, and I can slide. It does not seem like a lot, but it was certainly expansive and gave me control of my character. I enjoyed most of these mechanics. I liked how the dash ability maintained a high speed when used on the ground, and I liked having a double jump too.
However, the sliding mechanic was quite frustrating to use. Using it to progress through levels is very easy, as, without a time constraint, it is not frustrating to stop and process the upcoming traps. However, using it while maintaining high speed is frustrating. There are often traps that force a slide, but without moving at enough speed, it is impossible to perform a slide. This makes these segments taxing, as without incredibly precise inputs, these segments can easily lose a lot of time. The slide mechanic is not relevant in every level, and there are plenty of levels that leverage the mechanic effectively, but the sliding mechanic was more annoying than fun. Still, the movement mechanics and especially the dashing abilities were plenty of fun, and navigating each level was satisfying.
I think the reason that the sliding segments were frustrating had to do with the level design. Largely, the levels were fun. It was easy to see how different elements blended, and I enjoyed finding my way through different parts of the town. However, the level designs are not memorable. Aside from one or two levels, Velocity Noodle features very simple and straightforward levels. The levels were still fun to explore, but they did not have any riveting set pieces or distinct themes. I would have enjoyed more unique attributes to be distributed throughout the levels.
Moreover, considering this game revolves around speed running, I was a bit surprised that there are very few branching paths. Instead, the levels themselves are filled with barriers or spikes to impede my progress. To optimize each level, I usually just had to learn the level designs and push myself to go faster. This makes sense, as this is traditional with trying to travel quickly. However, I was disappointed that I rarely had to consider the optimal route to travel. There was just one path, so I never had to weigh different options or consider many of the decisions typically relevant in side-scrolling speed-running. Simply, speed running felt much less interactive than I anticipated.
Despite not featuring the depth I hoped for, I enjoyed exploring and mastering these levels. Velocity Noodle does a great job of rewarding my efforts. There are different trophies for attaining certain times on each level, a hidden set of chopsticks to find in each area, and even unlockable hard levels too. The game certainly comes packed with plenty of content. These features were excellent, and I appreciated how many different things there are to do in Velocity Noodle.
Stringing it Together
Moreover, I was charmed by the visual and sound design. My main character and her surroundings are lovely, drawn in a pixel-art style, and I thought the world around me was stunning. As I mentioned previously, many of the levels did not stand out, but each of the assets used was lovely and fit the theme too. The sound design also enhanced my experience with Velocity Noodle. It was electronic, invigorating, and excellently set the fast-paced theme. I am not rushing to purchase a CD of it or anything, but I think the musician behind it did a nice job.
Overall, I am mixed about this game. The game has a lot of solid moments, and I am very glad I played it. However, I was a bit let down by it too. It felt good to fly through levels after taking some time to learn the layout. However, the levels rarely pushed me to think beyond the surface level, especially when attempting a speed run. Even at their face value, without considering agility, the levels are disappointingly simple. Though I wanted more distinct elements in some of the levels, I absolutely had fun playing them, and I enjoyed the movement and overall aesthetic design too. Though the levels did not always leave an impact on me, Velocity Noodle still features plenty of great elements, providing a plethora of content with a rewarding skill curve.
Rapid Reviews Rating
3.5 out of 5
You can purchase Velocity Noodle on the Nintendo eShop here
You can find and read our reviews on OpenCritic.