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Bilgewater 05-16-2011 01:04 PM

Please rate my review for: VVVVVV
The Pain, The Horrible, Wonderful Pain

HIGH Finally getting the shiny on Veni Vidi Veci.

LOW Failing to get the shiny on Veni Vidi Veci for the two hundred and fiftieth time.

WTF The Super Gravitron, "You mean there's a harder one of these?"

Before reading on, why don't you hit that big ol' play button down there.

Remember when games were absolutely unforgiving? The days when enemy AI didn't automatically get easier just because you sucked, or when you couldn't quick-save your way through a tough boss fight?

Well, those days can be here again!

Enter: VVVVVV.

Terry Cavanagh (yeah, it's one guy, so you can be really specific while smashing your keyboard) has created either a 2 hour torture device or an expertly crafted homage to old-school platforming, depending on who you ask. Not only is this an excellent five dollar indie game, it also features a brilliant "8-bit" style soundtrack.

In some ways, VVVVVV is akin to Portal, except, perhaps, inverted. Where Portal took traditional platforming and added a single new element (and subsequently explored all the possibilities that new element entailed), VVVVVV takes traditional platforming and manipulates one of its most basic features: the jump. Captain Viridian (the main character) is incapable of performing this most basic maneuver. However, he has been teleported to a realm in which gravity can be inverted while standing on solid ground. Okay, that's a little contrived, but if you wax nostalgic about Joust, then you've really got no argument.

After being teleported along with his crew, (five other adorable little pixelated people with V-names) Captain Viridian realizes he is alone and must rescue them. Though you start off on your ship, which is fairly small, you quickly realize that the world around you is much larger and more dangerous than originally perceived. There are the traditional platformer standbys of spikes and disappearing platforms, but also more esoteric references. Giant floating ASCII symbols fly back and forth. Little pink ninjas jump up and down. These environments all add to the bizarreness and mystery of this open and free to explore world.

If the title of this review didn't give you some idea, VVVVVV really is brutally difficult. This difficulty is compensated for by the speed with which the player can pick themselves up and get killed again. There is no "You Are Dead" screen, no button press to deal with. It's quite possible to die, respawn, and die again without having any idea of what is going on. There are some, but not many instances in which you'll have to traverse several difficult rooms without a checkpoint.

While being over a year old, this game has lost none of its charm. This is due, in part, to it's reliance on 8-bit graphics. Mr. Cavanagh is clearly a man who understands that graphics don't mean hooey when you've got an excellent game mechanic executed well.

If you've got five dollars and two to four hours to spend with your Windows or Mac computer, you should definitely check out VVVVVV.


Disclosures: This game was obtained via digital download through the developer's website and played on a MacBook. Approximately 5 hours were spent on 2 single player completions. There is no multiplayer.

Parents: Captain Viridian will die countless numbers of times, but it's never graphic. He just flashes red and reappears moments later. I would, however, be concerned about your child's stress level, this game requires quick reflexes and can be very frustrating.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing: There are no meaningful audio cues to gameplay. All dialogue is text based.

Bilgewater 05-18-2011 12:09 PM

Re: Review: VVVVVV
It's great that this review has gotten over 50 views so far, but what would be even better is if some of those viewers became commentators!

What did you think of my review? Did you play the game and like it? Do you agree with the things I had to say? Do I sound like a total jackass? Do you all hate me because I admitted I use a MacBook? Please love me!!!!

But seriously, it would be great to hear what people have to say. I realize the thread isn't titled "Please rate my..." but you can pretend that it is.

Li-Ion 05-19-2011 07:56 AM

Re: Please rate my review for: VVVVVV

Originally Posted by Bilgewater (Post 196485)
Remember when games were absolutely unforgiving? The days when enemy AI didn't automatically get easier just because you sucked, or when you couldn't quick-save your way through a tough boss fight?

Yes, I was playing Demon's Souls just the other day :D

But don't use 'you' too much in a review. Write from your standpoint instead. You have no idea what background the reader has. How do you know that whoever reads this remembers the 'good old days'? How can you assume that your reader thinks the same about games from the 8 bit era as you do?

I don't care all that much for 6xV, since I'm pretty immune to 8 bit nostalgia. I also believe that having difficulty levels in most games are a good thing. One might now challenge me on my standpoint that Demon's Souls is the best game of this console generation and one of the best games ever made. But the difficulty in Demon's Souls did not come from cheap deaths. If you are aware of your surroundings you can prevent death quite often in DS. Before I sidetrack too much:

The review doesn't answer my question with many "hard" games where the difficulty comes from. Is it cheap deaths where you have to learn a certain pattern to finish a level? Is it like Demon's Souls that you have to explore and use different approaches to varying enemies? Does your survival depend on having reflexes like a chipmunk on ecstasy? Is it the Resident Evil 5 approach of being difficult because your alter ego feels more disconnected by the man-machine interface than necessary?

If a game's difficulty is a 'selling point', I want to know more about it before I dish out my cash for it.


While being over a year old, this game has lost none of its charm.
What? Is it standard that a game which is more than 12 months old is suddenly utter charmless? Also I have no idea what 'hooey' means.

Also, I think you use brackets way too much (what's written in brackets could be another sentence perhaps?), which makes reading a bit difficult for me. When I see extensive use of brackets I always feel like the text is not structured well.

Bilgewater 05-20-2011 12:21 AM

Re: Review: VVVVVV
Thanks! I appreciate your critique. I felt I wasn't hard enough in my review, namely because I pointed out none of its flaws, which it definitely has. As you can probably guess, this was a little rushed. I wanted to post something at least readable before the one week deadline of account cancellation occurred. That thing is scary. I'm a little sleepy right now, but I'll be making some revisions soon, hope you like the new version.

Oh, and hooey means poo.

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