Velocity Noodle Review – 5-Star Noodle Delivery Service
Title: Velocity Noodle
Developer: Shotgun Anaconda
Release Date: April 27, 2023
Reviewed On: Switch
Publisher: Top Hat Studios
In an age where we can have anything we want delivered, developer Shotgun Anaconda introduces a world where a network of companies managed to lock down the industry to secure a chokehold around the competition and make a bunch of money in the process. However, this context isn’t really needed, given that this fast platformer mainly exists to test your skills in the genre through some genuinely addictive gameplay systems.
Velocity Noodle places its premise in the background, instead focusing on gameplay. We follow an unnamed noodle delivery woman on an average day of deliveries as she dodges the police and banters with her unnamed boss. For her, this is business as usual. There isn’t any grand plot – no saving the city, just delivering noodles to customers and surviving.
At first, I was underwhelmed by the lack of story. However, as I kept playing, I realized how important this simplicity really is. While this may not have been intentional, it stresses how mundane this world is. Yeah, there is a police force that cracks down on unsanctioned food deliveries, but the characters don’t even attempt to explain it. Even when the boss talks about the Anti Delivery Service, he just says they hate delivery people, and I quote, “cause reasons.” This moment raised a chuckle out of me and helped set the tone for the experience ahead. It isn’t concerned with any story, so players shouldn’t be either. Instead, it leans into its silly premise and moves on.
What will keep you engaged is the gameplay which manages to deliver, no pun intended, a simple-to-grasp button scheme with some high levels of speed and challenge across every screen. Each stage is a small obstacle course that players must navigate using dashes, jumps, slides, and sword throws. As you progress, the difficulty rises, and more hazards are added rather than obtaining new abilities. This allows players to continually improve their skills from beginning to end, but that doesn’t come without more than a few deaths.
The platforming sections require precision that forces the player to learn how to get the most out of each ability. For example, the sword throw has two significant functions. First, any switch the sword hits is automatically activated, allowing players to hit multiple switches from a distance. The second has players active teleports using the sword strikes. However, if a throw misses, it becomes unavailable until it returns to the player.
This requires some initial planning from the player. Otherwise, you’ll just die as the sword hits a wall and flies backward past them. Thankfully, each level is designed to teach you exactly how each ability works before increasing the challenge. This scaling makes each level satisfying to complete, which creates an addictive trial-and-error approach to progression.
I took internal notes after each death, which could be tied to a mistake I made, whether it be timing or a poorly navigated approach. I couldn’t blame the game for this since it provides all the tools needed to progress. For example, if I teleported and bumped my head on a laser above me, it was because I jumped after teleporting. I had to stop making excuses and execute each ability perfectly, which kept me engaged.
However, the main game can be cleared in around two hours on a first playthrough, which is rather disappointing. While Hard mode does exist to extend the experience, these levels can go by just as fast as the main game, especially as the player’s skill has already been honed by some of the more difficult levels from the main set.
The length is a conflicting problem for me, as I wanted more, but going through the levels repeatedly to improve my times and execution wasn’t very appealing. One of the major reasons is that the level design and music don’t change throughout the entire game. All of the levels bleed together with the neon lights and flashing colors that one would expect from a cyberpunk setting, but it ends up making the experience feel more brief than it already is. I know the musical score has distinct tracks, but the songs are similar enough to almost sound like one unending piece.
There doesn’t need to be a dramatic difference in the aesthetics for each level, but enough of a visual distinction between the starting and ending levels would have helped give a sense of progression. As it stands, I worry that players will find themselves forgetting which levels they have already completed.
Velocity Noodle managed to be a great afternoon platforming skill test that offers some brief bouts of fun gameplay within the genre. The minimalistic approach to the genre allowed it to squeeze the most out of its core systems and push the player to speedily get through every hazard. While lacking a core narrative and a bit more diversity in its level design, I still enjoyed this challenging experience.
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