Terry Cavanagh’s VVVVVV is a wonderful and most brilliant game. Really. You have thus to buy and play it immediately or -failing that- smash your computer to tiny, sharp bits and send them over to EA. Here’s the link in case you failed to notice the previous, less obvious one. You know, just to make sure. There. Review done.
What do you mean you are not convinced yet? Here, go play the demo. That should do it.
Not enough? Very well then, you win oh imaginary reader. I’ll review the thing properly, as I admittedly wasn’t blown away by it the first time I tried to play through its demo, and if it weren’t for the glowing reviews I wouldn’t have given VVVVVV another chance. That of course, would have been a huge mistake, as after returning to said hefty demo I was impressed enough to promptly grab the full version of the game. A wise choice and a criminally belated review as it turned out.
So, on to VVVVVV: the review then. Well, VVVVVV is an indie platform game with C64 style graphics, a proper chiptune soundtrack and a rather unique lack of a traditional jump button. It also is quite brilliant. Actually make that the best platform game released since Manic Miner, meaning that I actually do consider it a way better game than any Mario offering you’d care to mention, all Sonic the Hedgehogs ever, Castlevania and, indeed, Jet Set Willy. It’s that good, it is.
Despite being incredible simple, all you can after all do is go left, right and reverse gravity (and consequently walk on ceilings apparently), VVVVVV offers a unique, varied and deep platform experience, that will test both your puzzle solving abilities and your platforming skills. Also it’s difficult, as my 1735 in-game deaths should easily prove. Then again, it is difficult in the fairest of ways and does help us average gamers by providing a ton of well placed save points. Not that trying and retrying screens isn’t enjoyable mind. Even the occasional feats of rage are fun in a decidedly old-fashioned way.
What’s even more enjoyable is that each screen in this glorious flick-screen platformer has its very own, usually silly, sometimes helpful and always appropriate name.
Oh, and the simple graphics, besides allowing for some impressively expressive 8-bitish characters, do much more than a simple screenshot can convey. They move, change their colours and create a beautifully psychedelic visual experience, that -coupled with the huge and hugely imaginative variety of enemy sprites- makes VVVVVV one of the most interesting and visually unique indie games ever released. Did I mention it sound brilliant too? I did. Great. Let me then just add that it even comes with an incredibly simple, definitely not preposterous yet rather enjoyable game story, and a more than a few extra modes and be done with it.
Verdict: Second only to Manic Miner, though you should take the fact that I’m an overtly nostalgic gnome into consideration. Anyway, just play it!