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Vectronom

Game review by
David Chapman, Common Sense Media
Vectronom Game Poster Image
Addictive puzzle platformer moves to its own techno beat.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

The game is an odd combination of rhythm, platforming, and puzzle games. The main premise is simply to get from point A to point B, all to the beat of an electronic synth soundtrack.

Positive Role Models & Representations

No characters or story to follow, so no role models to speak of.

Ease of Play

Controls are simple and straightforward, though it can take a bit to adjust to the isometric angle of the camera. The game also gets extremely difficult extremely quickly.

Violence

Players can fall into the abyss or get spiked by hazards, but at the end of the day, they're still just controlling a bouncing block, so "violence" is minimal.

Sex
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Vectronom is a rhythm puzzle game available for download on Nintendo Switch, as well as Windows and MacOS computers. In the game, players try to navigate their way through maze-like stages to the beat of the music. The game's easy to learn, but the difficulty ramps up quickly to frustratingly difficult levels. Although there are plenty of ways for players to lose a stage, such as falling off the path or stumbling into a hazard, the game's art style keeps any perceived violence to a bare minimum.

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What's it about?

VECTRONOM is a unique rhythm-based 3D puzzle/platform game that challenges players to move through a series of labyrinth-like stages that constantly change to the beat of a catchy electronic synth soundtrack. Floors disappear and reappear while spikes rise and fall, all with a steady rhythm its up to you to decipher. If you find your groove and move to the beat, you'll make it safely to the other side. But just how far can you go and how long will you last as the puzzles get trickier and the tunes more complex? 

Is it any good?

We all move through life to our own rhythm, whether it's that tune you hum in the car on the way to work or that personal playlist that pushes you through your regular exercise routine. Vectronom challenges players to tap into that same inner metronome to sync up movements to music in an entertaining but frustrating way. The premise is about as simple as can be. You've just got to move a little cube from one end of a maze to another without falling off the path or getting hit by obstacles in your path. Seemingly making things easier, all the hazards move to a specific rhythm along with the stage's music. But the biggest trap is how the game fools you into thinking it's easy, and then taunts you with a frustratingly difficult challenge that's addictively hard to stop playing.

A couple of specific things inflate the already maddening difficulty level of Vectronom. For starters, the game uses a 3D view that's skewed diagonally. That makes movement feel a bit awkward at first, as you have to adjust your control perspective. Up isn't really "up," but rather "up and left." It's more manageable with a controller, but if you're on a computer and using the keyboard, it's a bit of a pain. Also, by design, the camera isn't adjustable. This means that on some stages, your path is obscured by other parts of the level. Even when you're following the beat of the music, these moments are therefore more of a leap of faith that raise the anxiety to new heights. But as frustrated as you might get, the game never quite gets to the point of feeling impossible. With each failure, you learn a little more about the timing and can usually get a little closer to the goal. And it's that incremental progress, along with a thumping soundtrack fit for a techno club, that'll keep you coming back for more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about rhythm in daily life. What are some of the ways we use music to help get through daily tasks? How does rhythm help to motivate us?

  • What are some of the ways that video games can help to develop critical thinking skills? How can things like pattern recognition help in the real world?

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