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Review: VVVVVV

At a Glance

This game is recommended!
This game is not just good fun, it also stays fairly true to Christian moral values, making it a great addition to anyone's library!

ESRB Rating: NR - Not Rated
My Rating: Ages 6 and up
Genre: Platformer
License: Commercial
Release Year: 2010
Reviewed Version: 2.2
Review Published On: July 1st, 2016
Played on: Martha

Available from:

Humble Store, Steam, VVVVVV's Homepage

Save System:

To save your game, you need to have Capt. V. come into contact with a teleporter. These are found throughout the world, so you should be able to find one nearby whenever you need one.

Summary of
Major Issues:

If a character touches a spike or enemy sprite, they'll look sad and "die". The game then continues from the last checkpoint like nothing happened.


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Taking things literally

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Artful dodging

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Corrupted sprites

Game Overview

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.

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 he'll encounter in this strange pocket dimension. The trick lies in knowing when and where to flip; some places don't have ceilings or floors, so it's possible to send him flying off into space until he collides with something.

But, while Capt. Viridian is able to navigate the world somewhat easily, none of the other crew members can flip like he does. This makes rescuing them quite a challenge, as they can't avoid hazards on their own. Fortunately, everyone that needs rescuing is someplace where flipping around isn't explicitly required.

Now, you might be wondering why the crew needs to be rescued in the first place. It's not because they were kidnapped or went exploring in the great unknown without a map. Instead, these space explorers found themselves sucked into what TV Tropes likes to call a "negative space wedgie". As their starship crashed, everyone tried to evacuate via their teleporter, and in a completely foreseeable turn of events, it malfunctioned and everyone ended up getting sent to some random corner of a pocket dimension.

Thus, the Captain of the ship must save his crew and fix the space-time anomaly before things return to normal. For an extra challenge (and a secret ending) there are twenty Shiny Trinkets hidden throughout the game world. Collecting all of them isn't easy, but there is a nice surprise if you manage it.

If you like retro games or just enjoy the aesthetic, this is definitely a game you should try out.

Points of Interest

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.
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 look like their data was corrupted. Additionally, the soundtrack is completely made up of peppy Commodore-eske chiptunes.
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. This is an actual elephant found in an out of the way area. It's four screens large, rapidly cycles between different colors, and appears to be crying. Nobody really knows why it's there, making it a literal elephant in the room. It's speculated to be a reference to something, though there's no proof to back this up.
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.