By Terry Cavanagh
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VVVVVV is a retro styled 2D platformer by Terry Cavanagh, creator of dozens of free games. You play as the fearless leader of a team of dimension exploring scientists who inadvertently crash, and are separated. The game involves exploring the strange world you've found yourself in, and reuniting your friends.
VVVVVV explores one simple game mechanic: you cannot jump - instead, you reverse your own gravity at the press of a button. The game focuses on playing with this mechanic in a variety of interesting ways.
The game is designed not to artificially gate your progress. In VVVVVV there are no locks, no power-ups, no switches, nothing to stop you progressing except the challenges themselves.
Excellent. I only wish there were more of it.
This game is so beautifully judged. The developer clearly understands what was good about the best games from the 8-bit era, and has produced a fabulous tribute. There is absolutely no cheap nostaligia here - the game's look is simple but, at the same time, it's visually stylish, and the music is genuinely excellent (more 16-bit than 8-bit, actually... think Atari ST). And it plays like a dream. Just excellent fun.
One complaint, and one alone: I finished it in less than four hours - and 45 minutes of that time was spent on one puzzle in particular that, honestly, is the hardest thing that a computer game has ever demanded of me (you'll know it when you see it...!).
Brilliant. I shall look out for this developer in future.
This is a wonderful game. It makes superbly creative use of such a simple game mechanic. It is amazing how rich the game feels despite its very basic 8-bit aesthetic - perhaps this is helped by the terrific soundtrack. The game is unforgiving at points. At one stage I died hundreds and hundreds of times just trying to clear one screen, but these intensely challenging moments are part of what makes the game so rewarding. I reached the end sooner than I expected and was left feeling like the game was too short, but perhaps I just never wanted it to end.
In any case, the game is a steal at this price. Don't hesitate to give it a go.
A dissenting voice
I almost feel guilty marking this down to 3* after all the rave reviews it seems to be getting... but I just don't think it's THAT great. I do understand the retro appeal (I'm old enough to have had an Atari 2600 when it first launched!) and the nostalga element is certainly valid but I just can't get excited enough about it to give it more than three stars. It's mildly entertaining for a while and frustrating at times when you get to a hard level that needs perfect timing and placement rather than puzzle solving skills... that's just annoying. It's OK but I didn't get to the end before boredom got the better of me.