Before I start this review, I must offer a caution: VVVVVV (or rather V, as apparently the other 5 V’s are silent) is a flash game and stores the game save files with the Temps files from your Internet browser. And this means that if you clear your cashe, you unwillingly are deleting your saves, as I found out. Now, onto the review.
You have to feel rather sorry for Captain Viridan and the crew of the Space Ship Souleye. They were just flying though space and had the misfortune to collide with an area of dimensional interference. Now finding himself alone on a mysterious space station full of spikes and strange things, he must try and save himself, his crew and the ship.
It is important to stay positive in a crisis, even if that means lying to a colleague
To achieve this noble goal, Captain Viridan will use his one and only notable skill: Control over the direction of gravity in the local area. If the situation demands it, he can walk on the ceiling to avoid the sharp spikes and marauding enemies, even if they only get to maraud backwards and forwards along a particular section of corridor. However, despite the Captain’s flawless understanding of basic gravity manipulation, obviously was absent when they did the basic self defence class and therefore can’t take a punch. This means if you touch a spike or an enemy you will instantly die. And you will die a LOT, especially as the Captain’s shoes have about as much grip as a banana skin on ice and often send him sailing out onto spikes again and again.. Fortunately, there are check points almost every other room, which means you will never have too much ground to cover before you accidentally hurl yourself back onto a wall of spikes for the fifth time but it still can be infuriating. However, once you get used to the Captains oil tanker-like stopping distance, you find yourself hopping skillfully from platform to platform avoiding the various hazards and dodging the attacks of stations clumsy residents. If you get bored with hunting for your lost crew members, you can spend some time looking for computer terminals that can be used to reveal specific locations on the map, as well as the 20 Shiny Trinkets. And yes, they are actually called that. Collecting these items unlocks various levels for the games Time Trial mode along with unlocking several gameplay options (like the option to flip all of the levels vertically or a no-death mode) and the music tracks in the ships jukebox. These diversions don’t really add a huge amount of life to the game as none of the items are hidden that far off the beaten track, but it might still appeal to the 100%-ers among you.
Love can be so treacherous at times
The game has a lot of character and a most of it comes from the music. Just like the graphics, the music has been inspired by the chiptune music from the 8 bit era and fits in wonderful with the whole overall theme of game. As you move between the various sections of the space station, the music and the artistic style of the rooms change. This is, in my opinion, a stroke of genius as it goes a long way to stopping the game feeling like an exercise in copy-paste. The same goes for the enemies, as almost each room has it’s own style of foe and they are all as surreal as each other: A swarm of floating “STOP” signs and a large red bus are among the more normal of the foes you might stumble upon as you navigate your way through the labyrinth of tunnels.
There is also a level editor for you to unleash any creative urges you have. Using this very intuitive and simple tool you can create vast sprawling levels to test your reflexes or the patience of your friends, even if there no easy way to trade levels apart from copying them in and out of the games installed folders. However, don’t let that put you off as it really is as simple as it sounds.
Despite (or possibly because of) the controls level of responsiveness, the platforming is easy to learn yet hard to master and provides a challenge all the way through to the last room. But you might have torn all of your hair out in frustration before then.