Stan Lee’s new Character based game “Verticus” is one of those games that is easy to pick up and quite hard to put down. Verticus is really Iron Man in a different costume, flying through the skies towards earth, hurtling at super-fast speeds, entering the earth’s core, rescuing the planet by collecting a huge bomb and then doing the whole thing over again. That may be an over-simplified version of events, but Verticus is an endless-runner, only you are flying towards and finally through the earth.
There are many endless-running games or equivalent out there at the moment, including the mighty Temple Run and Jetpack Joyride. Both those games take different approaches to the genre, yet they are both similar in gameplay to Verticus.
The danger elements come in the form of mines that are laid out in front of you. There are blue mines which when hit reverse your controls, and there are red mines which stun you and make you lose part of your energy shield. Hit too many of these and it’s game over, with the option to continue using some of the purple orbs that you have collected on your way. As you fly through the city and inner earth you will also have to dodge parts of buildings or parts of volcanic rocks that jetty out and will stop you dead in your tracks if you hit them. It’s a sudden demise, but of course you can continue by using some of your purple orbs.
Once you get to the centre of the earth you will encounter the boss. A giant space-ship that attacks you with three giant arms, a laser and a gun that fires random red and blue mines at you.Once you learn the pattern of the giant mechanical arms they are easy enough to avoid, the same goes for the laser and mines. As long as you remember the controls are your friend, you will easily defeat the final boss.
Verticus has a simple control system that is done just using a finger or thumb of your choice. Where-ever you touch on the screen, a virtual stick will appear in the shape of a circle. Where-ever you move your finger in this circle will hurl Verticus in that direction. It really is a brilliant choice of control, and works perfectly. The control you have over the character is second-to-none, and at every point of the game you feel as if you are in full control.
The control is so accurate, that while flying at great speeds it is easy to move from up and down and left to right and hit the target triangles that speed you up and offer some pickups at either side of them. Also, it means that you can dodge mines easily when they are spread out, but it’s still difficult when they are deliberately splattered all the way across the screen.
This game looks like a comic book, and a very well designed comic book at that. Verticus is well designed and animated, and his suit in particular looks very nice, with some great lighting effects. The cloud, city, inner and core of the earth all look as they would in a comic book, and colours are used nicely to depict a great feeling of speed and depth.
Items used within the game such as the orbs, mines, triangles and various power-ups are all well defined and colourful, they are also animated well and fit in perfectly with the entire look and feel of the game. The speed of the game can be quite incredible, and at no point does anything slow-down.
The game features the voice of Stan Lee as the controller throughout the game, and to be quite honest it is really irritating. Stan will say things to help you on your way, or say things such as “That was close!”, it’s fun the first time, but soon gets boring. The sound effects on the other hand are quite impressive and various whoosh noises and pings of collecting coins and speeding up do the job very well.
Although Verticus is basically another endless runner, its style and content and ease of use make it a lot more enjoyable than some of the other leading titles out there. The game is very easy to pick up and get started with, and the addition of the usual purchases from in-game collected coins and orbs means that there is a lot to unlock and buying these add-ons is quite easy and really does add to the game.
Stan Lee has created an interesting character with Verticus, although this could easily have been an Iron Man game and no-one would be able to tell the difference. It handles well, looks good and really is a joy to play. It will keep you coming back for more, and best of all, its very cheap and sometimes free!