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Review: VVVVVV

Table of Contents

Quick Info

Gore & Brutality Magic Sex Civility Religious Objections
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Additional Notes
This game is also available for Linux! This game's soundtrack is available!


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Taking things literally

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Artful dodging

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Corrupted sprites

General Information

Genre:Platformer ESRB Rating:NR - Not Rated
License:Commercial My Rating:Children (6+)
Played on:Martha
Available from: Humble Store, Steam, VVVVVV's Homepage
Soundtrack:Available on the Homepage

General Notes

VVVVVV is a wonderful example of the new embracing the old. The game's graphics and style mimics what you would find on the Commodore 64, an old school computer system that many of today's computer geeks had when they were young. The gameplay however is something completely new, as it uses an unusual mechanic that creates equally unique and challenging puzzles.

If you haven't tried VVVVVV yet, do so soon!

Game specific jargon

Elephant in the Room
In one semi-remote area of the world is an unexplained elephant. It's four screens large, and it flashes rapidly enough that it could cause trouble for people that are photosensitive. Nobody really knows why it's there, making it a literal elephant in the room.

Shiny Trinket
One of twenty little glowing balls that can be collected to unlock a secret ending.

Story Overview

With an unexplained disaster about to befall their home dimension, a crew of scientists headed out into interdimensional space to find a way to save their world. But, during their travels some unexpected interference causes their ship to suddenly be yanked off course and out of quantum space With their home dimension in danger, a crew of scientists headed out into space in the hope of finding a solution and saving their own world. But, as they traveled some unexpected interference yanks their ship off course and out of quantum space, causing it to crash in a strange pocket dimension.

Everyone managed to safely abandon the ship, but the same interference that had caused the ship's navigation to fail also caused the teleporter's systems to malfunction, sending everyone to a random location!

Now alone, Captain Viridian must venture out into the strange new world, find his crew members and solve the riddle of Dimension V.

Gameplay Overview

In a bit of a twist on the classic platformer gameplay, Capt. Viridian isn't able to jump. Instead, he can invert his own gravity when he's standing on something, allowing him to fall upwards and walk on ceilings. By timing his "flips" correctly, he can dodge nearly anything.

His crew members however, don't have this ability and can only follow his lead. This creates some difficult puzzles as you need to guide them through areas that only Viridian can easily navigate.

The main danger in VVVVVV are red spikes, as touching them will instantly kill the Captain or any of his crew. There are also moving sprites, which can appear as anything. As with the spikes, touching them is lethal. On the plus side, death is rarely a hindrance as there are checkpoints littered everywhere and you have infinite lives.

For extra challenge (and a secret ending) there are twenty Shiny Trinkets hidden throughout Dimension V. Collecting all of them isn't easy, but there is a nice surprise if you manage it.


Very lightweight
While there's a lot of different things going on, this game manages to run well just about everywhere. The posted system requirements are incredibly low and very easy to satisfy.

Feature rich
This game has everything from Steam achievements to custom levels to fancy graphical features. One of the filters is even designed to make it look like you're playing the game on an old and beat up analogue TV set.

Disabled gamer assistance
There are a few features that allow people with limited mobility or other impairments to play through the game and have fun. Alternatively, these can be used by everyone else to freely cheat or just have fun with the game.

Great soundtrack
Fitting with the game's retro style, the soundtrack is completely made up of peppy chiptunes.

VERY Nostalgia driven
Complete with a Commodore 64 loading screen, this game makes it feel like the old days are here again. Most of the enemies are simple sprites, just like they were in old games. Some of them are even shown corrupted!

References everywhere
Most of the rooms are given names, and many of these are references to various famous games or older TV shows. Some of these references also play on the game's naming scheme and replace their Us with Vs, such as Gvnsmoke or Mvrder She Wrote.

Then there's the Giant Seizure Elephant.

Few rules and lots of freedom
If it's one thing players enjoy, it's the ability to do whatever without having someone hold your hands along the way. The primary goal is to find the rest of the crew, but what order you do that in is completely up to the player. There's nothing stopping you from exploring, and the game will change small details in the character's dialogue to reflect what you've been doing.


High difficulty
In the old days, games were often extremely hard. VVVVVV reflects this, and while there's no limit to the number of times anybody can die, it's still going to be harder than your average game.

Getting all of the Shiny Trinkets is harder than hard, specifically the one located in the infamous area called "Veni, Vidi, Vici" where you need to complete a multi-screen spike maze in one life.

Concerns and Issues

Characters can be killed temporarily
Touching a spike (from any direction) will instantly kill Viridian or any of his crew. This is handled in true retro fashion, with the character looking sad and turning red for a moment before everything resets to the last checkpoint.

Possible risk for photosensitive people
Aside from the obvious risk posed by the elephant in the room, there are a few other places where the colors rapidly change.