VVVVVV is immensely good fun, and you’ll be hooked from start to finish.
Sometimes a game comes out of the blue that completely flips you on your head. VVVVVV does this quite literally, with lots of lovely gravity-defying gaming at your fingertips. With great level design, clever puzzles and plenty of hidden extras to find, VVVVVV is one of the greatest indie games you’ll play this year.
Captain Veridian and his crew are aboard their spaceship when disaster strikes, and they are each thrown into different dimensions. Veridian must then visit six worlds, find his friends and bring them back to the ship.
Veridian cannot jump, but instead must flip gravity in order to walk on the ceiling. Puzzles require you move between the floor and ceiling multiple times, and quite frequently you’ll need quick reactions and a lot of skill to overcome the more tricky rooms. If you’re wondering why the game is called VVVVVV, then allow us to explain – the majority of rooms play host to rows of V-shaped spikes, which understandably Veridian isn’t too fond of.
You’ll also die many, many times, but fortunately there are plenty of checkpoints dotted around each level, so death is never much of an issue. In fact, the lack of punishment means that a lot of the time, you’ll find yourself smiling at just how difficult each challenge is, and smiling even harder when you finally manage to overcome it.
While the overworld connecting all the different zones together follows the regular VVVVVV laws of gravity, the levels themselves also have their own special rules. One level sees Veridian looping around the screen whenever he tries to leave it, while another called ‘The Tower’ is constantly scrolling upwards, requiring you move very quickly indeed. This variation in gameplay keeps the concept fresh and it’s exciting to see what wonders the next world will hold.
The world of VVVVVV has been given a very retro feel, with 8-bit style graphics and Jet Set Willy inspired rooms with names. Not everyone will fall in love with the graphical style, but we personally find the simplicity of VVVVVV‘s looks rather charming.
The music and sound effects follow suit as well, to incredible effect. The game comes with a full chiptune soundtrack, which contains some of the most intense and wonderful SNES-era tunes we’ve ever heard. It’s the kind of soundtrack that you enjoy so much, you end up buying it separately afterwards! Really impressive stuff.
While the game is utterly brilliant, it’s also rather on the short side. Clocking in at around 2 hours, we really wish there were more worlds to explore. Fortunately, there are plenty of extra collectibles and modes to keep you going. Special trinkets are dotted around the world in extremely hard-to-reach spaces, and grabbing all 20 takes a tremendous amount of skill.
Then there are time trials and speed runs to partake in, a special area called the ‘Secret Lab’ to find, and the deadly ‘No Deaths’ mode, which asks you to complete the entire game without dying. As of yet, no-one appears to have managed it…
VVVVVV is essential indie gaming that will have you both cursing and smiling simultaneously. It’s the perfect way to spend an evening, and the type of game that you’ll be recommending to all your friends. Make sure to try out the online demo.