VVVVVV – Review
A retro audio-visual package designed to bring to mind the heyday of the 8-bit era.
Michael Plant is chief editor and writer of gaming ezine and blog GamesCatalyst.com, as well as editor of 'The Independent'’s games review printed in the Saturday supplement 'Information'. Established in February 2011, Games Catalyst endeavours to bring its unique brand of fact and satire to the videogaming community and, in tandem with 'The Independent', hopefully turn a few non-believers on to gaming while we’re at it.
Thursday 17 May 2012
It’s been a long time coming, but nearly months after it was released on the US eShop, Tim Cavanagh’s VVVVVV has finally made its way to the UK.
A shining light of the indie brigade, this much vaunted puzzling platformer is an excellent addition to the growing roster of titles available to download on Nintendo’s 3D handheld.
VVVVVV offers up a unique blend of frustration and success, all wrapped up in a retro audio-visual package designed to bring to mind the heyday of the 8-bit micro computer. C64 and Spectrum fans will get a jolt of nostalgia as the game loads to a soundtrack of screeches and a flash of multicoloured stripes.
Behind the late eighties aesthetic lies the story of Captain Viridian and his crew. Thrown from their spaceship by some sort of dimensional fudgery, it’s your job to lead Viridian through the dangerous confines of the ship, collecting the various members of the team and trying to figure out what’s gone wrong in the process.
The game is a platformer with a twist. Rather than jumping, you tap a face button to invert the gravity, sending Viridian falling upwards to what was once the ceiling. Traversing through the trap filled ship is a matter of quick thinking, razor sharp reaction times and the ability to reassess your surroundings when you’re upside down.
Things start off reasonably sedately, with only a few spikes and the occasional bottomless pit blocking your path, but pretty soon the game starts throwing nightmarish concoctions of crumbling platforms, speeding projectiles, and bouncing ghosts at you.
Despite the toughness of its challenges, VVVVVV’s checkpoint system is a kindly one, and you rarely have to travel back too far after failing to navigate a tricky screen. It’s a good job too, because you’re going to die… a lot. It’s testament to the excellent level design that, as frustrated as you’ll get, you’ll still want top push on to see the next section the game has to offer.
The open nature of the game means you’ll spend a decent amount of time exploring the ship, which is represented in map form on the bottom screen. There’s something cathartic about watching the blank spaces fill with neon lines as you delve deeper into the game, and hidden terminals egg you on to investigate every corner and corridor.
VVVVVV is a difficult game, but it’s one that’s worth persevering with. Its levels are a master class in game design, its trials and tribulations finely poised and expertly balanced. Your failures are rarely down to cruelty, but poor planning or a too hasty twist of gravity as the excitement gets the better of you.
In spite of its simple graphical style, VVVVVV exudes a charm that few big budget games could hope to match, with each of its colour swapped characters offering up a rounded and interesting personality. This is indie gaming at its very best, tough as old boots, full of brilliant ideas and imaginative gameplay, and it feels perfectly at home on the 3DS.
Life & Style blogs
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
KickAssTorrents down: biggest file-sharing site moves to .cr domain after takedowns
Audrey Hepburn is officially Britain’s style icon – 22 years after her death
Protein World 'Beach body ready' advert: Mass demonstration in Hyde Park planned against 'body-shaming' weight loss advertisements
The confessions of men who ordered mail-order brides
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Aaron and Melissa Klein: Oregon anti-gay bakers ordered to pay $135,000 after refusing to make cake for same-sex wedding
EU exit would hit UK economy much harder than neighbouring countries, study finds
Andrew Lloyd Webber: Phantom of the Opera writer mocked after issuing a warning about Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon
General election 2015: Labour will toughen hate crimes legislation surrounding Islamophobia
- 1 Avengers: Age of Ultron: Nearly 700 German cinemas refuse to show movie
- 2 Donald Trump decides that Baltimore riots are Barack Obama's fault
- 3 X Factor in crisis as numbers of people auditioning plummets
- 4 General Election 2015: Stephen Hawking says he will vote Labour
- 5 Baltimore riots: Furious mother marches her son home live on TV
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...
£40000 - £48000 per annum + 10% bonus & benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Engin...
£16000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has over 30 years ...
£65K - £75K (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Creative Director...