Verticus is Stan Lee’s creation, on opening the app, you’re presented with a Marvel style comic strip sequence that sets you up for your first plunge into the core. There’s not a great deal of depth to the story but it really doesn’t need it, Verticus is all about the action, and it wastes no time getting you into the excitement. Fast paced and action packed, you’ll be in the action from the word go.
The controls seemed a little odd at first, they’re back to front. You steer with your right hand and activate weapons on the left. Strangely, I liked this setup but if you do have trouble you can switch it around in the options menu. The virtual control stick isn’t fixed, it appears wherever you touch the screen which allows you to play where it’s most comfortable for you. Controls are very responsive, I never felt like I was let down by this.
The graphics are pretty amazing, especially considering the speed that you fly at, the only slow down I experienced was when Game Centre activated upon opening the app. Aside from that, the game runs incredibly smooth with no visual glitches. On the downside, the perspective could sometimes cause problems, especially in the higher atmosphere where you have no reference to the position of the mines, but this is a minor complaint as you soon get used to it and adjust. The music is a fast score that really helps to give the impression of high speed, living in a busy household. I’m quite used to playing games with little or no sound but in this case, the sound is an essential part of the experience and turning the volume down seriously detracts from gameplay. Your mission commander is voiced by Stan Lee, a nice little bonus for nerd boys like me.
You probably won’t get far on your first run through, you begin with no weapons and no health but between sessions you have the opportunity to upgrade your flight suit, buy more health, armor and weapons and also increase the duration of pick-ups. You can also purchase new suits, these are quite expensive though and until you’ve upgraded your suit fully you probably won’t bother with these. They’re purely for aesthetics and don’t affect gameplay, with the exception of the Stealth suit, which is transparent and could be helpful for spotting hazards behind your character. This however is incredibly costly and you’ll need to put in some serious time to buy it. You can continue after you die and the first couple of times are very cheap. However, continuing only gives you one life bar. You’re actually better off exiting to the menu to upgrade, extending your initial flight will stand you better stead in the long run.
Verticus does suffer from a few minor issues, when receiving push notifications from other games I found the game would pause and sometimes close entirely, especially frustrating because you lose the progress of the session you’re in. For some reason, Game Center currently doesn’t award the achievements, despite having them listed, possibly a let down for trophy hunters.