I come into this review having just completed VVVVVV for the third time in two days, having taken just over an hour to do so. Yes, an hour. From beginning to end—though I do still have time trials and other such unlockables to aim for. Normally I would criticise a playtime of such brevity, but VVVVVV is one of the most enjoyable platformers ever made.
If you remember the Commodore 64, you’ll feel at home with VVVVVV’s audiovisual style. Excellently composed and devilishly catchy chiptunes sit alongside blocky pixel art with an extremely limited, but always well-chosen palette of colours. Somehow this retro aesthetic (despite being done to death with the likes of Lyle in Cube Sector, La-Mulana and Spelunky to name a few) feels fresh, with each new screen proving a rare treat of meticulously crafted retro magic.
The eventual aim of VVVVVV is to escape from Dimension V. You take control of the little ship Captain whose crew have been scattered off into remote places within the game world, and naturally you must bring them all together to conquer the game. Occasionally you must guide one of your crew members along with you, which adds another layer to the gravity-twisting japery.
Oh, yeah, the gravity stuff. How did I get this far without mentioning it? You see, your Captain doesn’t actually jump—instead, he reverses gravity on a whim, meaning he will shoot to the ceiling or drop to the ground again. This can lead to some pretty mind-warping scenarios, especially when the edges of the screens start wrapping around—you can end up leaping from the ceiling to the floor on the opposite side of the screen, several times. Onto collapsing platforms. While dodging an endless onslaught of the word “LIES.” It’s that kind of game.
Difficulty-wise the game is surprisingly tough, though it’s always fair, and the hardest challenges are usually optional. Hidden throughout are twenty “Shiny Trinkets,” the acquisition of which reveals a surprise I won’t spoil here. The placement of these Trinkets is absolutely fiendish, requiring keen powers of observation and the player to learn the mechanics inside out. I have spent upwards of 2000 lives playing VVVVVV; and, frankly, someone worse than me at 2D platformers is going to spend a whole lot more. The game is far from a walkover.
Any potential frustration was for me tempered by the joy and immediacy of the gameplay—if you die, you’ll just start again immediately from the most recent checkpoint, which is always generously placed. The controls are so simple and responsive that it is always squarely the player’s fault if he or she fails.
I will certainly be playing VVVVVV again - especially with the recent addition of an easy-to-use level editor - even though I am sure I will never manage to unlock all of the extras as some of the criteria to do so are ridiculously hardcore to a degree I cannot possibly hope to overcome. Thankfully the core experience is a delightful one, and the main pull of the game is the game itself, the hysterical glee of its aesthetic, the constant reinventions of what could in the wrong hands be a samey mechanic, the subversion of expectation, and the clear love the developer has for the game.
Indeed, love is the feeling one receives from VVVVVV. The love that is in the details, the soundtrack, the intricate design. It is a testament to the obviously intensive playtesting that the love you will feel towards the game will never become hate, even as you lose your six-hundredth life to the cruel trio of screens that is Veni, Vidi and Vici. The best games are challenging without being overwhelming, punishing without being cruel, and rewarding without being spoiling. And, of course, VVVVVV is among them.
I absolutely love this game. It is, to date, my only online purchase ever, and at £3.99 on Steam it was well worth it as this is a joy to play. I really don't think there's much more to say than what Stu has already covered, but I will say this: it's so easy to get the hang of, but manages to be a real toughie at times. Three words: Veni, Vidi, Vici (Stu will know what I mean there). So punishing, yet so gripping at the same time. Took me a good hundred or so attempts, that one. The dialogue by the small cast is rather cute as well, given that they're essentially multi-coloured stickmen they've really worked wonders with building their personalities. Given the free order in which you can rescue your comrades, the script can head down several different routes accordingly. It's very clever and a considerable effort.
I highly recommend this as a purchase. At least try the demo, well worth it.
There are three things I try to live by:
1) Never tell a bride the day before her wedding day that "there is a problem"
2) Nothing good happens after 2AM - just go to bed.
I hate VVVVVV on the principle that I have no idea how to actually say the name out loud. I am, of course, joking, but how the Hell d'you pronounce that?
VVVVVV is another of those games I just haven't gotten around to yet. It was one of the fatalities of the "FFS Shay, stop buying stuff off of Steam you're going bankrupt" decision. I will pick it up at some point, honest.
Post by Devo DrakeFox on Jul 28, 2011 20:57:36 GMT
My brother demonstrated VVVVVV to me months ago. It frightened me... I mean, DAYUM!!, I've seen some hard games in my time but only Satan himself could conjure up some of the mind-[censored]tering puzzles I saw.
Perhaps an over-exaggeration, but yeah, it's [censored]ing horrific.
(I genuinely thought that's what you meant for a minute there)
EDIT: Okay, first five minutes offer a good start. Kind of reminds me of Super Mario Galaxy 2 meets those couple of levels from Dynamite Headdy where you're switching gravity.
A platform game where you can't jump is odd but I'm getting the hang of it. The Captain's movement seems a little over-eager, but that might be because I'm unused to playing games on this particular computer and I haven't learned the resistance of the keys. I suspect I'll get the hang of it. Checkpoints are intelligently (and necessarily) placed.
I like that all the crewmembers' names start with V and I literally just got that that's because the game's called VVVVV as I type this.
I'ma totally have the music in my head for the rest of the day.
all I can do is apologize, and pretend that what i'm doing with my life is satisfactory, and that college will fill the void in my soul that making money creating music for webcomics has failed to do
one day I will make movies, I keep telling myself
but then I think: will they be any good?
am I capable of that?
can someone who enjoyed the third and first transformers films possibly create something worth watching? of course, that's a stupid question.
It has no bearing on whether or not. But I still ask the question, and I weep.
anyway I think it's actually acceptable to pronounce it multiple ways and the fact that it can pretty easily be applied to the game in various good ways makes it a good title, I think, which is the important thing
edit: jesus christ I actually wrote everything here, what the [censored] is wrong with me
Osu! is a freeware clone of Elite Beat Agents. Custom beatmaps can be added for all manner of songs (though there's a strong focus on anime/game music, as you may imagine), and it's playable with either a mouse, or a touchscreen tablet - which is clearly the preferred control scheme. I don't have a tablet, but it's still enormous fun to play the easier beatmaps, such as this one which is up there with my favourites:
Uh, yeah, this game has kind of a niche appeal, I guess, but I've sunk a lot of time into it, and if you're so inclined then you will too. Definitely give it a go, or even try creating your own beatmaps!