The PlayStation 4 and PS Vita combination has had its fair share of companionship for the small length of their joined lifespan. Apart from remote play, which was the much anticipated feature which did not live up to the hype, there is only cross buy or cross play which is supported by only a handful of titles. Switch Galaxy Ultra makes part of this handful, and while it brings a game full of pace and action, it also does not live up to its full potential.
Set in space, obviously, Switch Galaxy Ultra is a confused tale which stars Vince Vance, some sort of ship pilot who is tasked to carry a pretty valuable resource, called Tantalum, across a multitude of destinations. That is what I basically understood from the story of the game, which makes it just a default setting with no influence whatsoever on gameplay, apart from the Tantalum part. On the positive side, the story pieces are quite beautiful to behold, displayed in a comic book style with very neat visuals and drawings which almost feel directly in front of you.
As a space pilot, Vance is tasked to collect this Tantalum for his company, Dakur Technology, to be used for their latest research. Amur Ness, Head of the company, becomes sort of a supervisor for Vance and initially provides the hints and tips needed to learn the basics of the game. Once the first few levels are done, she rarely speaks again if not for a remark for driving a bit too carelessly. Basically, the game involves your ship travelling at high speeds over some sort of train railways. These rails all lead to the same destination and need to be used interchangeable to evade the obstacles which litter the course, mainly multi-coloured gates or other ships. The game is aimed at making sure that the ship arrives to its destination each and every time, which means that these obstacles merely slow the ship and do not deal some kind of damage to it, which while unrealistic suits the game and is a fair penalty which slows down considerably the ship. Along the way Vince may encounter a number of objects scattered across levels, such as nitro pads, which fill up the nitro meter when passing over them, the aforementioned gates which slow down the pilots or even bombs, which create an explosion around you to remove whatever is around it, which makes for a cool animation upon passing through the smoke cloud. There are also collectible credits, which are then spent in the shop against upgrades or new ships altogether.
The main problem with the game regards the fact that there is no major incentive which makes the player want to traverse the course at dizzying high speeds. Sure, there are online leaderboards which can be seen as a challenge, leading to players repetitively doing tracks over and over to learn them and try their best to achieve the lowest time possible, but this is not enough to keep everyone trying their utmost to blast around the map at the speed of light. The game does have a clock which calculates your time, and if satisfactory enough at the finish you will be awarded bonus credits for registering a good time, but that’s about it as far as stimuli to record a good time go.
As explained earlier, the game features collecting Tantalum in order to be able to move from one place to another. Tantalum is gathered through a sort of mini-game in the middle of the level, and consists only in moving your ship to collect the resource. After the mini-game, every time you clash against obstacles you will lose this Tantalum, so there is more of an effort to evade everything. Unluckily though, the game’s major flaw of under emphasising time constraints comes into play here, as one can just drive with the brakes on to go slow and safe, and literally throw the risk of clashing out the window since the ship will move very slowly then.
Switch Galaxy Ultra features also beautiful graphics, running at 1080p 60 frames per second, which makes the ship zooming about look impressive. The background scenery, which depicts space and surrounding areas is quite gorgeous but unluckily gets repetitive real fast, especially in parts of the track which feel quite plain such as the first few levels. This repetition is not very evident though, so it will not be a critical factor in the game’s overall success. What is a bit of a critical factor in the game’s success is the fact that it can feel a little unfair at times, specifically for the first few runs on a course. High score hunters will not be bothered that much since they will probably repeat levels over and over again, but those looking for a casual experience will find themselves stumbling into barriers who are either on the top of a climb which you cannot possibly see or get confused especially by the blue or green barriers, which blend into the background far too often, or can also be thought to be nitro pads. This means that to evade the obstacles one should know exactly which track to be on in any given situation, which may ruin the fun for those looking for a little high speed action.
Switch Galaxy Ultra does a lot right, but for every right thing it does it seems to do a wrong one. The core mechanic of switching lanes is very good and the concept of gates is an interesting one, but the same environments used over and over and the major lack of motivation to give it your all make this game score for just average.
Disclaimer:All scores given within our reviews are based on the artist’s personal opinion; this should in no way impede your decision to purchase the game.