In VVVVVV you play as the captain of an interstellar space ship who’s crew is scattered across the stars. Your job is to teleport around space in an attempt to find them all and bring them home. In your way are… a handful of aliens and bunch of V shaped spikes.
VVVVVV is a port of the PC platform puzzler of the same name which was released to critical acclaim back in 2010. Four years later, we find ourselves asking what took the developer, Terry Cavanagh, so long to bring it to iOS. Surprisingly, VVVVVV works perfectly on touch devices.
Unlike traditional platformers, in VVVVVV, there is no jumping; the only commands you give your spacefaring ship captain is to move from side to side or reverse the effects of gravity. By doing so you either hurdle toward the ceiling or to the floor, depending on your point of origin. To keep the game challenging, you can’t reverse gravity unless you are grounded — never in mid air. There are, however, occasional areas of the game were the environment forces gravity to flip, so long as you pass through a clearly marked threshold.
Considering the V spikes mentioned earlier are virtually everywhere, and alien enemies and dissolving platforms are common, you’d think VVVVVV would quickly become infuriatingly difficult. After all, touch controls are anything but precise when compared to a physical controller. However, VVVVVV places checkpoints before just about every challenge, and respawning after a failed attempt is near instantaneous. While we can’t say VVVVVV is frustration-free, the frequent checkpoints make particularly challenging puzzles much more bearable. And because VVVVVV is legitimately difficult, overcoming a challenge makes you feel very accomplished.
Graphically VVVVVV is charmingly retro — it has kind of an Atari 2600 feel — but are nothing to write home about. The same could be said for the sound effects and music. In fact, we suspect the audio and visuals so closely resemble 80’s style graphics, that they may alienate younger players, which is unfortunate, as the puzzles and challenges presented in VVVVVV are clever, and unlike anything else currently on a touch device.
VVVVVV is a premium game and there are no IAPs. The decision to exclude any micro transactions of any sort has resulted in a game that’s pure and completely self contained. There are a few unlockable play modes. No death mode essentially means there are no checkpoints. A single death will restart the game. Flip mode starts a new game where everything is flipped vertically. Time trials mode is… well, time trials. These play modes are unlocked by achieving set objectives, though if you so choose, you can activate them right away from VVVVVV’s main menu.
VVVVVV is a casual game, yet it demands your full attention. There’s no looking away from the screen while you play this one. If it has a fault, it’s that it’s somewhat limited in its replayability. Unlike other performance platformers like Super Meat Boy, there are no unlockable characters that drastically alter your play style. A second play through is likely to be just like the first only you’ll hopefully be faster and suffer fewer deaths. That’s a minor gripe, however, especially considering VVVVVV’s low price tag. For platformed fans who can also appreciate a healthy dose of puzzling, it doesn’t get much better than VVVVVV.
VVVVVV for iOS Review: The Extra Vs Stand for More Vs
+Retro graphics and music
-Retro graphics and music