By: Ted Chow
As a friendly disclaimer, I’m not all that familiar with flight simulators nor do I gravitate towards the genre. Vector Thrust happens to fall within that category and is one of those games that tailor towards a particular audience, meaning you’ll likely either love it or find it absolutely tedious. If flying aircrafts are your forte and you love the feel of a joystick in extended battlefields, then Vector Thrust might be a game that you find interesting.
While playable with a keyboard, Vector Thrust is one of those games that feel better with a joystick or other peripheral. This is usually targeting a specific crowd that happens to buy these accessories for specific types of game for their PCs. It may be a lack of understanding by a flight simulator newbie such as me, but there are no tutorials or anything to ease a new player to the genre. The ability to rebind keys mean nothing if a player has no idea what everything is meant to produce as an outcome.
While trying to imitate real flight, the movement feels too sluggish for a video game when put into practice. Overall, the keyboard experience wasn’t great and buying a peripheral for one game can be unreasonable.
A mixture between a cel-shaded look and other cartoon-like games, the aesthetics for the planes was an interesting choice as opposed to what you may normally see of the genre. While a photo-realistic approach may have created an authentic sense of piloting these aircrafts, the choice for a cartoon look helps with the fantasy narrative story telling of Vector Thrust.
The soundtrack that accommodated the play experience was a mixture of suave beats and your typical orchestral harmony.
Vector Thrust comes with a surprisingly large number of play modes. From quick match to the campaign story, there is at least a good variety to choose from. While there may be a number of modes, they all seem to play similarly to each other to the untrained eye.
Campaign mode is perhaps the most interesting out of the bunch as different scenarios and lore help to expand the Vector Thrust universe. Aside from that, you can participate in multiplayer and challenge mode if you want to experience a different dynamic to the game.
Much of the actual gameplay will place you in command of a jet that you customize before every mode. The level of customization increases as you unlock more of your arsenal in modes such as challenge or go farther into the campaign. Your jet comes equipped with two missiles and a number of special weapons such as flares. Special weapons are finite, while missiles are infinite and respawn after a few seconds.
The theatre of war will always consist of an air battlefield in which to maneuver your jet around in a multitude of available camera angles. If you enjoy third person you can play that way, or if you enjoy a more first-person experience, you can get inside the cockpit and experience a different HUD.
The most surprising feature of Vector Thrust is definitely the world creator. A more accustomed feature to games such as Starcraft 2, the world editor allows you to create maps with a good variety of items and conditions.
If you ever got tired of the procedural random battles of skirmish/quick action, the world editor is an interesting option for the genre and completely out of left field as far as established expectations. As it is rather difficult and somewhat clunky to use, however, the editor may require some internet browsing help as there is limited explanation within the game itself.
Vector Thrust is a game for the niche population that enjoys flight simulators and rather long dog fights in the air. Even though the genre isn’t my forte, the gameplay is solid and mostly bug free. It may not be high octane, nor overly flashy across the spectrum, but it is solid nonetheless — it’d be even better with a joystick, which should offer the most immersion into the experience. Overall, a solid title for those that enjoy the genre.