Vico is a bit like an extension of the original Pacman game but you are a fish and instead of a maze, you move around the levels a bit like Qix. It is an interesting game that has that “one more go” arcade feel to it so long as you don’t mind a bit of frustration and some woolly collision detection.
One of the first interesting spins Vico provides is that each world is a drop of water and so you swim around the surface of a 3D globe. On the surface, flowers float at different speeds and directions and you need to collect them all to unleash yellow flowers. Collect them and you progress to the next level. In your way are plenty of sharks, frogs and fauna that will gobble you up and as they get more plentiful and speedy, you’ll be dodging their movements whilst trying to make a beeline for the flowers. It is a one-hit death per level and so you need to be precise and often cautious in your movements. It is a shame that the controls don’t always allow that though.
The reason I mention Qix is that Vico’s movement plane is decidedly rigid. You can move in various compass point directions but the collision detection for the foes is much wider in scope than is visually shown. I died more often of getting close to something rather than being in its path or hitting something. It is as if the world is chunked into grids but you can’t see it and so you visually see one thing but the game plays out a different variant. You can boost out the way but in later levels I actively avoided boosting because I’d just boost into another trap. Patience is rewarded with progression in Vico – and you’ll need a fair amount. The game oddly only saves after each of its 5 worlds so be prepared to do battle for a while if you get stuck.
Whilst the collision detection does pull down the overall experience, Vico does have something. It is an old school arcade skill-based game and you are rewarded for using your observational skills uniquely. The levels are made of water and as the enemies swim around the levels at speed, you can see them bombing around the rear of the level and start to predict where they’ll pop back into view for you to avoid. This became my key strategy for survival and it’s a very unique feeling to largely play looking at everything but your character. As the game gets faster and trickier, my eyes were everywhere!
Niche but challenging, Vico is a solid entry into the arcade high score challenge world. Local and online leaderboards are available and whilst the collision detection did infuriate me a lot, somewhere Vico kept me returning back for more. If a game does that, despite its flaws, it can’t be bad.
Some collision detection issues bring down a unique and solid arcade challenge.
Pacman gameplay in a 3D spherical world is a great idea.
The watery world brings a unique "look for your enemies" strategy that is different to most other arcade games.
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