Developer: Impbox Games
Released: August 2016
Platforms: Windows, Linux, Mac
Available on: itch.io
VEKTOR 2089 is a futuristic racing game by Australian developer Impbox Games, using floating vessels. Taking place in the latter half of the 21st century, the game combines the high-speed antics of games like F-Zero with retro top-down racing games of the time. Despite the game’s initial release date, it’s still in active development, with the latest update released this June.
VEKTOR 2089 contains the usual game modes, such as championships, single races, time trials, and local versus mode, playable in 12 different tracks in locations such as the United States, Germany, and Japan. Controlling extremely durable crafts, you can bump into walls and overheat your engine and still be in one piece, reducing the stress typically associated with this subgenre of racing game.
While you can drift around sharp turns, I found it much easier to run into the walls and correct course with a boost in lower classes such as the C Class, but drifting becomes necessary in higher classes, especially S Class. Boosting, which gives you a speed burst while costing your boost reserves and the risk of overheating your engine. The reserves are slowly recharged over time but going at high speeds for too long at once will cause you to severely slow down and allow competitors to overtake you. This gives VEKTOR 2089 an element of resource management, where moderation is key to success!
Although you can’t destroy your ship, reaching and staying in the first place is easier said than done. The AI opponents in the first three places are especially vicious, and hard to escape from when you’re in the lead, making the game a good challenge.
Artstyle and Audio
VEKTOR 2089 sports a colorful, pixelated look which, when combined with its futuristic setting and aesthetics, gives off an old-school retro feel to the game similar to what you can find in titles such as Outrun 2019. The game also uses optional glitching effects, which is a useful indicator of boosting or ramming into walls. By pressing the F9 button, you can capture a brief replay of the last ten seconds or so in an animated GIF file, letting you share your achievements with friends (or in this case, my readers)! The game also comes with track and ship editors, allowing you to run wild with your imagination, though they’re quite unintuitive and you can’t save new ships and tracks, only edit the existing ones.
The fast-paced, futuristic, electronic soundtrack (composed by Dubmood) is also a highlight of the game, which is immersive and gets you fired up very quickly. Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a way to buy the soundtrack from the composer’s Bandcamp.
At its current price, VEKTOR 2089 is a nice quick fix if you’re looking for a modern take on the future with a retro touch. Featuring several game modes, editable tracks, a powerful soundtrack, the game will have you on the edge of your racing seat.
For similarly-themed games, check out Byte Driver and FutureGrind!