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Multiplayer Game Reviews

December 18, 2010

VVVVVV

Well, I suppose a badly damaged ship is better than a non-intact one.

VVVVVV is a game that brings a nostalgic tear to my eye. It’s the exact sort of game I grew up playing, so I can relate to it. I fully understand what it is trying to accomplish, and not only is it successful at this, it is executed brilliantly and beautifully.

The premise is simple: you take control of the captain of a damaged spaceship and try to find the five other crew members who have been scattered across the ship (all of whom have names beginning with the letter V.) Instead of jumping, you have the ability to reverse the direction of gravity at will. So you will spend about half your time upside-down.

Now let’s talk about the difficulty. This game is hard. ridiculously hard. Now, when it comes to platform games, I’m not so shabby. But before I played this game for a single hour, I had managed to rack up over 600 deaths (yes, the game keeps track.) That’s over 10 deaths per minute. That means I died at least once every six seconds. And if you think that’s bad, by the time I hit the three hour mark I was getting close to 2,000. The gravity-reversal gameplay style is a little awkward at first. I guarantee you will find yourself attempting to jump over and over again, only to be hurled feet-first toward the ceiling. But you will eventually get used to it. And when you do, a brand new world of vintage gaming opens up to you.

I'm embarrassed to admit how many times I died here.

But with VVVVVV, the difficulty isn’t a flaw. In fact, it is part of the charm. You may die a lot, but you have an unlimited supply of lives and you respawn almost instantly at the last checkpoint you hit. The checkpoints are close enough together that dying won’t ever set you back very far.

Any vintage gamer will tell you that these graphics are beautiful. 8-bit simplicity. None of this 3d engine, virtual world bullcrap. And the soundtrack is so good that just thinking about it makes me start to sweat with excitement. Yeah, it gets a little repetitive after a while, but you’ll probably be swearing too loudly to hear it since you will be dying so much. If you do manage to keep yourself composed without being completely overtaken with fits of nerdrage, you will be treated to a delectable orchestra of 8-bit melodies.

If you grew up playing 8-bit NES games and long for a time when gameplay was king, VVVVVV is perfect. OK, let me restate that without the unnecessary modifying phrases: VVVVVV is perfect.

Spikes and platforms. Spikes and platforms.

VVVVVV

 ★★★★★ 

Gameplay:★★★★★ 
Technical:★★★★★ 
An unnecessarily brutal 8-bit platformer.

Game: VVVVVV | Developer: Distractionware

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