VVVVVV was just released on Steam for $5 and I was quick to pick it up. I’m a sucker for any game that uses the entire screen for gameplay. I’ve heard of Terry Cavanagh before, have seen the VVVVVV Giant Bomb Quick Look, and have heard nothing but good things about the game, so I decided to take a closer look at the mechanics that make up VVVVVV.
The flipping mechanic of VVVVVV was a fresh take on the platformer/adventure genre, which was used tremendously well. It was responsive and worked exactly the way it should have. You even move in a ‘v’ direction most of the time you’re traveling. Every other aspect of the game supported this mechanic, including disappearing platforms, moving platforms, forced upward scrolling, falling, and forced mid-air flipping. Each one of these obstacles needed the flipping mechanic to be used correctly. There was nothing in the game that seemed added for the sake of adding complexity. The puzzles use your knowledge of flipping and the traps were based off of your reflexes, timing, and awareness of the entire game space. However, when you do make a game where traps are instant death, I would expect a little tighter control on my character.
When starting or stopping your character, there is a slight sliding to his (or her) movement. Now, since many of the difficult obstacles need exact timing and accuracy, this made the game immensely more challenging. Landing or moving off of smaller platforms and navigating through enemies or spikes were really challenging. I ended up with over 1800 deaths in a game that to 3 ½ hours to complete. That’s 514.28 deaths per hour.
Even though the difficulty was possibly higher than it should, it was compensated with challenging puzzles, ideal save locations and rapid reload times. Though I could solve the puzzles in my mind, my reactions sometimes weren’t fast enough to keep up with the speed of the game. As I fell, impaled, or slipped to my death, my character was back and ready for action within seconds. It always gave me enough time to rage out, be calmed by the excellent chip tunes music, and ready my fingers again for another quick death.
This is probably one of my favorite gaming experiences of the year so far. I have completed the game and collected all of its shiny trinkets. To sum it up, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience playing VVVVVV, even though it was frustratingly difficult.