Strike Vector, you had my curiosity at last year's E3. Now you have my attention.
Made by a small team and featuring some pretty amazing visuals, Strike Vector is what I can only describe as a combat game. It may look like a flight sim in parts, but it's not really flight; each round is contained within an arena, and those arenas are full of "furniture" that's there for you to fly through and take cover behind.
It's also not really flight because you can, at any time, hit the brakes and transform your fighter. It's not as dramatic as a Macross transformation, but the results are the same; with the press of a button you go from controlling something that's flying into controlling something that's hovering, and which moves more like a FPS character (complete with zoomed in "iron sights") than a space jet.
Combined, and given the breakneck speed matches play out at, the whole thing ends up feeling like... well, like an old game of Quake, albeit one whose controls take some time to get used to. So despite the art, and the flying, I guess it's that throwback to the deathmatch shooters of old that's so appealing - and defining - about Strike Vector.
It's out on Steam now, and the dev team promises new content is continually coming down the pipeline. With a small team and a focus on multiplayer mayhem, don't expect a singleplayer campaign. Don't even expect a proper tutorial. All there is is a selection of ships, of weapons, a server list and a game full of things exploding at really high speeds.
So, yeah, it's a lot of fun! I mean, it's not without some issues. I wish there was more to do. Like Hawken - another attractive sci-fi multiplayer shooter made by a small team - I wish there was a story, an adventure to be had in this gorgeous world they've built. I wish the attractive architecture and ships designed by Paul Chadeisson and Pierre-Etienne Travers were married to a UI and menu system that wasn't instantly hideous. I wish the game had any other soundtrack than the one it has.
But hey, I can wish for stuff all day, even from the biggest and most expensive games. Strike Vector does one thing - frantic multiplayer combat action - and does it really well.