VVVVVV (or V6 as I will call it in the review) originally came out in 2010 as a part of the third “Humble Indie Bundle” package for the PC. It is designed to look like an old Commodore 64 game with a simple art style, addictive gameplay and an amazing chiptune soundtrack. The 3DS version is pretty much the same as its PC counterpart with a few small changes like the addition of a world map on the bottom screen and some layering to give a 3D effect. It was ported by NICALiS and released on the eShop on December 29th of 2011.
What You Need to Know
The player controls Captain Viridian, who at the beginning of the game must evacuate his spaceship along with the crew, when the ship becomes affected by some sort of “dimensional interference”. The crew tries to escape through a teleporter on the ship which malfunctions causing Captain Viridian to become separated from the rest of the crew. Upon returning to the ship, the Captain learns that the ship is trapped in an alternate dimension and that the rest of his crew has been scattered throughout it. The player’s goal is to rescue the five missing crew members and find the cause of the dimensional interference.
The most awkward thing about V6 is its controls, even though it is a platforming game at its core there is no jump button. Instead, by pressing any button (A,B,Y,X,L,R) you can reverse the direction of gravity when standing on a flat surface. This causes Captain Viridian to fall towards the opposite side of the screen. You as the player will use this unique mechanic to travel through the game while avoiding various hazards like spikes or moving enemies. Though the game uses this simple mechanic to make things unique, there is no slack in its difficulty. I died a lot, and I mean A LOT! There are numerous checkpoints through the game allowing you to re-spawn the moment you die at the last one without any penalty. This is good considering that each room is a challenge that may take several minutes to complete. (It would have been terrible to have to do them over again especially if it took me 25+ tries to get it the first time!) All in all, the gameplay is addictive in a Super Mario 3: World 8 sort of way. You will die and die and die and die and die some more until you get the timing just right and advance to the next screen.
Acid Dripping Rainbows
If I had to choose a phrase to describe the graphics in this game it would have to be, “Acid Dripping Rainbows” No really, I’ve though a lot about it… The game has nothing to boast about in polygons or 3D worlds but the simplistic 8-bit art is riddled with amazing, dangerous color. In the beginning the environments are filled with a range of colors from neon green to the deepest red and every color in-between, however, in the last hour of my play through the game no longer had a set color for any surface. Over the course of ten seconds things that once were green have switched from blue to neon pink to magenta to red and back to green, thirty times or more, in strobe. Things you were used to seeing have suddenly become foreign and a new, more difficult challenge with the new colors.
In addition to the normal story which took me about 4 hours to complete, the 3DS version has some extras to make it well worth your buy! Throughout the normal story map there are 20 “shiny trinkets” that will be no easy task to collect but if you do, each one unlocks something fun. There is a jukebox of sorts that allows you to just simply listen to the game’s amazing soundtrack as you unlock each track via the trinkets. There are also 18 “Player Levels” that are unique maps in themselves that have been made by other people like Notch (creator of Minecraft) that lasts maybe half the length of the story. There are some other additions that I won’t go in to detail about including time trials, a flipped mode, a no death run mode, the secret lab, and the super gravitron. All in all though the story won’t take you very long there is still plenty of extra stuff to keep you flipping around.
V6 has been a joy in a sadistic sort of way, I love a challenge but this was by far the best one I’ve had in years. Each room was so difficult that I had a great sense of accomplishment with each one I completed. The soundtrack is now a MUST HAVE for my iPod and the beautifully dangerous yet simple art will stick with me for years I’m sure. This game is $7.99 (USD) on the eShop and I have gotten about 6 ½ hours of play out of it and still have a lot of stuff left to do including 14 more player levels, time trials, no death mode and flip mode. V6 has topped the book in bang for your buck with me HANDS DOWN!
Review copy of the game purchased in the 3DS eShop.
Played through the entire campaign and some of the player levels.
Total Play Time: 6 ½ hours with many more to come!