Vexx Review


The protagonist in Vexx is a guy named, yes, Vexx, whose people have been enslaved by a demon named Yabu.  Vexx's people are put to work in the mines and forced to toil under the harshest of conditions.  Vexx finally decides to stand up to the guards in the mines and is almost killed as a result.  Only the intervention of his grandfather saves his life, but his grandfather is killed instead.  Vexx manages to escape to the nearby town and immediately discovers his people's long last artifact of power - a pair of supercharged talon gloves.  The gloves attach themselves to Vexx and he is off to save his world.

Screenshots
Vexx unleashes a combo attack.

Vexx's world is divided into nine different areas, each built around a theme - desert, forest, jungle, etc - and accessed through a central hub of portals.  Unfortunately, the hub has been drained of power making it useless for travel to all of the worlds and to the zone occupied by Yabu himself.  To power the hub Vexx must collect Shadowraith hearts, which are the last remnants of the beings that initially invaded Vexx's world and drained the hub.  Each area contains ten hearts that can be collected by solving puzzles or making it to the end of long platform sequences, and as you collect more hearts you'll be able to access the other zones.  It is not necessary to collect all of the hearts in an area before moving on, and you can finish the game without collecting them all as 60 are needed to enter the realm occupied by Yabu.  You can also go back to any world that you've already visited to try and get the last remaining hearts.

Some hearts are awarded for solving puzzles and beating bosses, but most are gained by collecting 100 of one item, or six of another, or making a long series of successful jumps across gaps, onto moving platforms, and over teeter-totters.  Collecting the hearts is a standard platform game affair and if you've played this type of game before you won't have too much trouble solving the game's puzzles.  What will give you trouble, though, is the game's camera.  You'll do a lot of jumping with the camera stuck in a weird spot that ends up forcing you to make blind moves.  You have some control over the camera in the more open areas, but you really will spend a lot of time either screwing around with it or audibly cursing it.  The poor camera control does not sink the game, but it certainly makes it a more frustrating experience than it should be.

The frustration is compounded by the game's control.  It's not entirely precise, and there's a slight delay when starting to move or changing directions.  When you need to make a precise jump or even walk along a thin ledge, you'll often have to do so from a poor camera angle and won't have much chance to correct things if you blow the jump.  There's at least a couple of hearts in each area that require you to complete a long jumping sequence, so be prepared for some trail and error and hope for some good luck.  Control is particularly frustrating while swimming.  Vexx can swim along the surface or go diving below, but he is hard to control in ether case.  Swimming on the surface is particularly tricky as Vexx is a slow swimmer, is hard to maneuver in the water, and the camera often insists on swinging way below the surface giving you a view of Vexx's legs but not of where he is going.