Ads are gone. We're using Patreon to raise funds so we can grow. Please pledge support today!
Google+   Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | DS | PS3 | PS4 | PSP | VITA | WII | WIIU | X360 | XB1 | All
VVVVVV (PC) artwork

VVVVVV (PC) review


"Although not an unusual game in any ways, VVVVVV is the exact opposite of our average perception of a game today. First of all it is called VVVVVV, which is pretty much the ideal title to name a game if you’re an indie developer looking to break into the gaming market. Its graphics are straight from the Commodore 64 era, dialogue is minimal, difficulty is intense, can be played with only three buttons, and features only one simple to understand gameplay element. "



Although not an unusual game in any ways, VVVVVV is the exact opposite of our average perception of a game today. First of all it is called VVVVVV, which is pretty much the ideal title to name a game if you’re an indie developer looking to break into the gaming market. Its graphics are straight from the Commodore 64 era, dialogue is minimal, difficulty is intense, can be played with only three buttons, and features only one simple to understand gameplay element.

You play as the captain of a spaceship whose crew gets lost in an odd dimension called VVVVVV. As any good captain would, you set off on foot to find them all (also worth noting that each crew member’s name begins with the letter V). This crew must not be too afraid of alien invasions or any type of extra-terrestrial conflict, since you are not armed with a gun or weapon of any sort. But that’s ok! Other than your lost crew there does not exist any other forms of life in this dimension. Instead, there are thousands (if not more) of spikes and various other obstacles that our hero must cross and navigate using only VVVVVV’s unusual gravity. Attempting to perform a jump will result in a change in the direction of gravity. So if you need to cross a pit of spikes, simply flip the gravity and walk on the ceiling right over the spikes. It’s as simple as that.

But it is not that simple! VVVVVV uses this basic idea to create some truly unique and remarkable challenges. After progressing through a somewhat basic introductory area, you are sent to an overworld similar to one found in games such as Metroid or Symphony of the Night. After a bit of exploration, one of the first areas I stumbled across was a giant tower in which I had to make my way to the top. Only there was one catch: spikes on both the ceiling and floor that would result in an instant death were quickly moving upwards! So I had to quickly flip my way to the top, but not too quickly or I would crash into the equally lethal spikes above me!

The game does not slow down after this. One area features endless looping rooms, where jumping through a pit results in you falling from that same spot in the ceiling. You must strategically jump through the right places and perform many quick maneuvers to get through to the next area. Another area is the game’s take on an escort mission, where you must guide one of your crew members through various obstacles. The catch is they follow your exact movements, so if your timing is just slightly off they’ll fall to their death. Now proper timing is more crucial than ever! Just about every area of the game features some equally unique and interesting moment, such as wires that act as trampolines, mazes with teleporters that you must navigate through, conveyor belts that further complicate already difficult challenges, and much more.

Now I previously mentioned that the game is difficult, but didn’t quite emphasize exactly how difficult it is. I consider my skill level to be about average, and in roughly two hours I racked up just over nine hundred deaths. Yes, nine hundred. To make matters even worse, I died almost one hundred times in one room! It doesn’t matter how good or bad you are, a lot of it is nearly impossible to pass on your first try and there is some trial and error involved. Thankfully the game is always fair due to the abundance of checkpoints. Just about every room has one, if not multiple checkpoints. With this you still feel proud of your achievements while hardly ever being frustrated.

The difficulty might seem like a turnoff to some, but the upbeat and cheerful soundtrack more than lightens the mood. In the matter of fact, VVVVVV has one of the best soundtracks I’ve ever heard in a game and easily rivals – if not surpasses – the greats of the Commodore 64/NES days. I’m not going to waste words attempting to describe the beauty of the soundtrack so I’ll just say this: you absolutely must hear this for yourself. No words can truly capture how great this is, but if a soundtrack can keep a smile on one’s face after dying in the same room one hundred times it has to be something truly remarkable.

So on the surface VVVVVV is a 2 - 3 hour game (though additional challenges can roughly double that time) with nearly thirty year old graphics and a brutal difficulty. While this is not something that will seem appealing to most people, underneath this is something truly special and remarkable. It has style, an amazing soundtrack, challenging gameplay that’s fair, plenty of diversity and manages to take a simple concept and turn it into one of the most creative games I’ve played in recent times. With the exception of fancy graphics it has everything one could ever want in a videogame, and for the $5 price tag it goes for it would be absolutely insane to pass this gem up.

Rating: 8/10

Halon's avatar
Community review by Halon (January 08, 2011)

A bio for this contributor is currently unavailable, but check back soon to see if that changes. If you are the author of this review, you can update your bio from the Settings page.

More Reviews by Halon
Poker Night at the Inventory (PC) artwork
Poker Night at the Inventory (PC)

In the end, Poker Night at the Inventory is nothing more than a promotion for Team Fortress 2 featuring a cheap poker game.
Ikaruga (GameCube) artwork
Ikaruga (GameCube)

I will admit I am not a fan of Treasure. But I have to give them some credit; they made their latest game, Ikaruga, sound not only interesting, but innovative as well. Talks about switching between black and white really sounded cool and made Ikaruga sound like the future of videogames.
Halo Zero (PC) artwork
Halo Zero (PC)

I remember on April Fools Day 2005 when Gamespot joked about Halo 3, stating that it's rumored to be a RTS. They probably didn't fool anyone, but it wasn't long before a Halo game that didn't stick to the series' traditional first-person view would be released. Although it was never “officially” released, Halo Zero<...

Feedback

If you enjoyed this VVVVVV review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Site Policies & Ethics | Contact | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2014 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. VVVVVV is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to VVVVVV, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.