Volume - Ace of bass
| Volume

Volume, a futuristic re-telling of Robin Hood from Mike Bithell, is the closest we've come to the brilliance of the Metal Gear Solid Substance VR missions since their original release in 2003.

You play as Rob Locksley, a thief who stumbles across a 21st Century jackpot in the 'Volume' device from Gisborne Industries.

Volume is a piece of hardware which simulates virtual heists using digitised guards and currency.

Rob decides to take from the rich Gisborne, and give the power back to poorer people by streaming the secrets of Volume all over the internet.

Using ninja-like stealth, and high-tech gadgetry, the aim is to reach the end of each maze, while solving various head-scratching brain-teasers and looting shiny riches along the way.

And it's a format which works exceptionally well on Playstation Vita.

Riding through the Silicon Valley

While Volume has a very detailed and compelling story - narrated by Danny Wallace, Andy Serkis, and Youtuber Charlie McDonnell - the missions within the game have been designed for drop-in/drop-out play.

The context of each mission is usually illustrated by the email briefs scattered around the map. You may be privy to an entire chat transcript between two colleagues, or a simple conversation that hints at a much deeper and darker undertone.

Though you will sometimes need to strain your eyes a bit to see what's been written.

Your goal is to stay out of the enemy's cone of sight by pressing up against walls, hiding behind doors, and diverting attention away from yourself so you can sneak by.

The full map layout can be viewed from a top-down perspective, and is easily rotatable using the right analog stick, or holding your finger down on Vita’s touch screen to pan around.

The touchscreen interface can also be used to distract guards using Locksley's gadgets and roving the cursor around the screen.

The Bugle traces a white line that can ricochet off walls, and send guards away from your position.

Once fired, tapping the screen again will detonate the noise projectile, which, if in earshot, will cause a guard to go and investigate elsewhere.

Heart-felt and spoonfuls of content

Aside from the huge amount of customisation on offer, Volume has 100 campaign levels to wade through. Each mission is quite short, though you will find yourself dying and retrying early and often.

All missions have a par-time attached to them, so there is incentive here to try and match, or even compete against friends and the rest of the world.

But you can also move from checkpoint to checkpoint at your own pace, gradually making your way through the game's content, which makes the entire experience very open and accessible.

Unfortunately, there is no Cross Save functionality currently built into the Vita version of the game, so you can't move progress between this and Playstation 4.

Although Mike Bithell has assured his Twitter followers this will feature in a future update. It is, however, a cross-buy title, which is definitely a nice bonus.

Arguably the best feature in Volume however, is the ability to create your own levels, then share them online.

This unique opportunity hasn't been squandered on Vita, as using the touch screen and analogs to arrange your own masterpiece is a real delight.

This also means that Volume has an incredible amount of longevity. It's the gift that keeps on giving as there are regular staff-picks to enjoy and new creators to discover.

Though we'd love to have the ability to Cross Save work so you can migrate levels locally, making sure your creations can follow you onto either Vita or PS4.

Oo-de-lally, oo-de-lally, golly, what a game

Volume has been ported to the small screen tremendously. The graphics don't appear to have suffered in any way. In fact, the smaller screen, and sharper resolution mean it always looks crisp, yet still runs seamlessly.

What's more, there's nothing really like Volume available for Playstation Vita. In today's market, it feels current, fresh and different, though the variety in the missions can sometimes feel long-winded.

Volume feels like it was designed for Playstation Vita. This is the perfect home for Mike Bithell’s coup-de-gras.

Volume - Ace of bass

Despite some slight tedium in the mission variety, you’ll keep coming back to your Vita to play Volume weeks, months, even years later
Ray Willmott
Ray Willmott
When not objecting to witnesses in Phoenix Wright or gushing over Monkey Island, Ray does social things for Steel Media. He also pretends to look like Han Solo in his profile picture.