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Old 05-16-2011, 12:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2011
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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.

Last edited by Bilgewater; 05-16-2011 at 08:10 PM.
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