Price: $6.99 (free version available)
Version Reviewed: 1.1.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5
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The Vectrex was a much ignored games console from the 1980s. Cursed because of its release a mere year before the 1983 Video Games collapse, it never quite succeeded commercially in the way that it deserved. A shame given its potential and its unique integrated vector monitor. Those gamers who haven't had the chance to experience such a distinctive console, now have the chance through their iOS device and Vectrex Regeneration. It's an app that, much like the ZX Spectrum: Elite Collection of last year, consolidates the best that the console has to offer in a shiny modern day shell.
The Vectrex only had 18 games released for it, so Vectrex Regeneration's collection of 18 alongside 4 indie titles is pretty comprehensive. The free version of the app comes with just the indie titles and MineStorm, which is still plenty to get to grips with the Vectrex's style.
The games themselves are dated to look at but surprisingly crisp on the iPhone's screen with controls of the tapping variety. It's possible to move these buttons around the screen with a virtual analog stick also playing an important role. Admittedly, the stick does require some sensitivity adjustment, depending on the title, but the controls feel appropriate for the decade. Those lucky enough to own an iCade can use that instead. While I don't own one to test it out with, I've heard that it does make a massive difference to the experience. Those with an iPhone and iPad can also hook things up via wi-fi, thereby enabling them to use the iPhone as a controller for the iPad version. It's a little buggy but a fantastic idea.
Vectrex Regeneration is brimming with these great ideas, right down to the layout of the app. Rather than just offering a list of the games that can be played, everything is laid out like a 1980s bedroom. Players can browse their game shelf, pulling out boxes and reading more about the title. There's a media shelf full of commercials and pictures, dedicated to the Vectrex. There's even a chalkboard representing the leader boards, and a cork board highlighting achievements.
It's always tough to score such retro collections because no matter how it's presented, these are 30 year old games. They're done well though and realistically. There might be a few bugs and glitches to be found, but it's still an excellent way of rounding up an important part of gaming history.