26th December 2011; By Patrick
VVVVVV (alternate pronunciation: The Letter V Six Times) graced indie gamers on PC and Mac worldwide last September and introduced players to Captain Viridian on his quest to rescue his five other crewmates. Through retro visuals, a unique gameplay mechanic, and chiptunes, players were able to connect to Terry Cavanagh's nostalgic vision. Very soon, Nicalis is bringing out a 3D version of the game to the Nintendo eShop. After spending quite some time with it, here are my thoughts on the game.
Unlike most 2D platformers where you simply run and jump, this game takes things a little differently. The first is that for the running, the physics are slightly looser. There is no momentum, as you can move at full speed and then stop on a dime with no problems. The second is with jumping; there is none. Instead, you press any button to reverse Viridian's gravity, sending him towards the top of the screen or back to the bottom, with no changes made to the environment.
As you can probably guess, this leads to some absolutely insane and tough puzzles. Items might take you by surprise at first, such as white bars that will reverse your gravity upon hitting them (without prompt from you), huge spikes that you have to carefully bounce around, and more. But within ten minutes you'll be moving around like a veteran -- until you see the next new obstacle.
The game also has no level scrolling, per se. Upon moving against one of the edges of the screen, you will snap into a different "room" to explore. Each room has a title, listed at the bottom of the game screen, which are sometimes just generally helpful to follow the story (Command Room) or, more often than not, inside jokes or pop culture references. Reading them might get you killed, but they are definitely a key part of the game and you should make sure you read as many as you can.
a lot. The game has checkpoints littered everywhere so that when you do die, you can respawn in what seems like a microsecond. The game also has Teleporters scattered around less frequently. These not only are capable of taking you to any other Teleporter you've been to previously, but they also function as save points. The amount of times you die can be viewed on the bottom screen of the 3DS version, to encourage you to replay the game with fewer deaths.
The game on the 3DS uses the 3D screen for 3D, but not the entire screen; the game displays in 4:3 a la DS games. This is a smart move and perfectly maintains the aspect ratio on the 3DS version, though some may complain. The 3D is not very strong, but instead is very subtle, used mostly for the backgrounds. This is fine considering the amount that you will be focusing on the death traps. The soundtrack is also fully present, however without headphones, some of the tracks come out slightly quietly. This might be fixed for the final release, however it is doubtful.
For someone like me who has completed the PC version a multitude of times, the main game is exactly as you would remember it, so thus can be completed from memory. On the other hand, the user-created level feature that has been implemented into the 3DS version should be able to extend the game's longevity greatly.
VVVVVV for the 3DS promises to be a great package. It's the original game with added bonuses such as portability, 3D, and user-created levels, so you would be a fool to pass this one up... even if you are a VVVVVVeteran. Look forward to our full review of this game after it releases!