Flightpath: Adventures in Venaris (PS4, PS5, Switch, Xbox One, X/S)

What happens when you combine a 2-D vertically scrolling shooter with a choose your own adventure book?  You get Flightpath: Adventures in Venaris, that’s what.  Choose from three different characters, a detective, a mechanic, and a racer (who also happens to be a rabbit) each with their own spaceship and shooting styles.  Each character has his or her own story, and depending on which choices you make in the levels, you can alter the story’s outcome.  It’s available on all current consoles but reviewed on PS4 here.

The shooting stages are pretty straightforward, controls-wise.  Move with the L stick, and shoot with the fire button.  Another button sends out a screen clearing attack.  In most stages are branching paths that you can take to change the story.  Each path has different missions to fill, like destroying certain targets, protecting others, fighting a boss, etc.  Even when you lose all your energy, you don’t really ‘die.’ You just go back to the repair shop and can do a side mission with a loaner ship while yours is being repaired.  With three main characters, each with their own story and branching paths, there is a lot of replay value here.

Aside from choosing your own path, the other big wrinkle in this game is the shop system.  Halfway through a level you can land at a shop to buy upgrades for your ship with coins you’ve collected in the levels.  You can buy different weapons but make sure you have a generator strong enough to handle them (if not, you’ll have to wait until you can fire them again).  You can also repair your ship, buy armor, shields, bombs, and more.

My main problem with the game is there is some major slowdown, especially when there’s text blocking the action.  Also, since the stages are somewhat randomly generated, they can get a bit bland and tedious.  But even so, I did like the fact that your ship can take multiple hits before going down, and the ambitious additions keep things somewhat interesting.

Kid Factor:

Flightpath: Adventures in Venaris is rated E-10 with ESRB descriptors of Fantasy Violence and Mild Language.  You just shoot vehicles that explode when defeated, and some words like ‘damn’ are in the text only.  Reading skill is helpful and the difficulty is high enough that it’s best for older kid gamers.

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