Episode 14- VVVVVV

Posted: July 21, 2012 in 5DG Plays
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

System: 3DS eShop (also available on PC, Mac, and Android)

Release Date: December 29th, 2011

Rarity: N/A (it’s a download-only game after all!)

Price: $7.99

“Wait, hold on, FDG! I thought your name was the FIVE Dollar Gamer! What’s this $7.99 business?!” Let me spin you a tale, dear reader. You see, fairly recently (as of the time this article was written) Nintendo started discounting a game for a weekend. One of the first games they made cheap(er) for a weekend was retro-modern (modern-retro) game VVVVVV. What magical price point did they discount this game to? Why, it was lowered… for one weekend… to $4.99. Which happens to be the regular price for the game on Steam… soooo I win on a technicality? I’d rather play on my 3DS anyway.

Nintendo knows me.

I’ll admit the thing that initially hooked me, beside the price, was the retro-style graphics. Despite the 80’s PC-looking graphics, this was a game developed only a couple of years ago. It is part of a growing trend of indie games utilizing 8-bit graphics in modern-day games. But you know what? This isn’t a bad thing, as long as the game programmed around it is good. I have been conned before into playing a bad game because the retro graphics made me wax nostalgically about “the good ol’ days” of gaming.

Pictured: One of the thieving bastards.

VVVVVV is quite an interesting game. You play as Captain Viridian and you must rescue the other crew members of your spaceship after a teleport goes wrong and separates your crew. Each crew member’s name starts with a V (hence the name of the game). The game is open-ended, allowing you to begin your journey in any direction. Viridian moves from screen to screen avoiding spikes, enemies, and other traps and dangers. But you don’t do this by jumping or shooting some kind of awesome space blaster. The controls for this game are very simple. L, R, A, B, X, and Y all serve the same function. Hit one of these buttons and gravity will flip, allowing Viridian to walk on the ceiling.

“Hey spikes! I can see down your shirt!”

For a game with such a simple control scheme it can be downright brutal at times. Some rooms are like puzzles that you must navigate flawlessly to get through. One wrong move will send you back to the last checkpoint. Lucky for us, the checkpoints are plentiful. Also lucky for us, the lives are like soup, salad, and breadsticks at Olive Garden, completely unlimited.

But less likely to give you an upset stomach.

It may not seem like there is too much to this game, but just when you’re beginning to think that, a new small twist gets thrown at you that drastically changes how you play certain sections of the game. For example, after finding one of your crewmates, a teleporter once again fails on you, and instead of bringing you back to your ship, you must navigate several rooms of death with your partner in tow. Problem: While your crew member will automatically follow you, he does not have the same gravity-defying abilities you do. The strategy lies in the fact that he will not move while you are on the ceiling. Once you hit the floor he will come running to your location. One room will have you flipping back and forth between the floor and ceiling several times as your crewmate navigates a series of moving platforms placed precariously above and below a series of spikes. Oh, and stay on the platforms too long and it will deliver his squishy skull into the bloodthirsty spikes.

This is that room. The room that nearly broke me. It broke Viridian several times though!

There are also several collectables scattered throughout. These shiny trinkets don’t server a purpose at first and it isn’t explained to you (at least not up to the point I played) what purpose collecting all 20 will do, but Viridian brushes it off by basically saying “Eh, why not?!”

Verdict: HIGH FIVE

If you want a game that will test your patience with challenging action puzzles, this is the perfect game for you. I had to put the game down at several points (especially during “…Not as I Do”) just to avoid bursting out in a series of swears. But not once did I feel like it was the game’s fault. The flipping mechanic and physics are smooth as buttah. And the rush of relief I got after getting through “…Not as I Do” was what put the game over the top for me. It was some kind of weird high for me. That a game can get me so emotionally invested, not through its story, but through its gameplay is just… awesome. If you don’t want to pay $7.99 for it on the 3DS eShop, like I said, it’s $4.99 on Steam ($2.49 during the summer sale!).

If you flipped for Episode 14, then spike my traffic on The Official Five Dollar Gamer Facebook Page!

Thanks for reading!

  1. jowistinks says:

    I absolutely love the concept behind this blog; I’m a gamer on a budget and I could certainly use some practical recommendations to filter the schlock from the awesome. That, and I love the Olive Garden joke. ^_^

  2. […] 1.) VVVVVV on the 3DS eShop is reguarly $7.99, I bought it on sale for $4.99. […]

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