Nicalis brings another excellent indie title to Nintendo platforms.
VVVVVV began life as a Flash game, which eventually made its way onto Steam, and will soon arrive on the 3DS eShop. The game is a Commodore 64-styled puzzle platformer with a gravity-flipping mechanic and brutal difficulty (the title can be thought of as representing a line of the game's ubiquitous spikes). Players control Captain Viridian who is searching for his missing crew. The game only uses the left and right directions and up and down to flip gravity.
VVVVVV's gameplay is simple, but distilled to near perfection, with each area offering new challenges. Some areas have players slingshot around with repeated gravity flips to avoid crashing into foreboding spike-filled caverns. Players can use the Circle Pad or the D-Pad, but I ended up switching
to the D-Pad since the game requires precision platforming.
The game features an amazing Euro techno chiptune soundtrack, which really adds to the atmosphere of the game's almost barren environment (It's so good, I even bought the CD).
When it arrives, VVVVVV will easily be the most difficult game on the
eShop due to its need for quick reflexes. To prevent discouraging
players, the game is full of checkpoints, which encourage players to try
sections of the game over and over. There is no other penalty for dying, though the game keeps track of the likely comical number of deaths you will accrue.
VVVVVV makes use of the 3DS features in two ways. Even though the game sports extremely retro C64-styled graphics, 3D has been added in the form of parallax backgrounds. Usually, I play games with the slider turned all the way up, but I wasn't able to do it here. The problem is that VVVVVV features brightly colored sprites on a predominantly black background, which produces ghosting due to the screen's imperfect parallax barrier. Since the level designs have not been changed, the top screen's full width isn't used. In any case, visuals were never VVVVVV's focus; it's the excellent gameplay that really matters.
VVVVVV also uses the touch screen to display the map and other informational screens that players would have had to pause the game to check in the PC version. It's a useful addition that can help you keep track of where you're going within the game's labyrinths.
The game also includes a bonus set of stages taken from the VVVVVV community and includes levels by designers such as Notch of Minecraft fame. Nicalis estimates that this additional content will add another five hours of gameplay. Players will also be able to download additional levels made using the PC version's recently released level designer.
VVVVVV arrives soon on 3DS, and I'm happy to be able to take it on the go. You can try out the demo here.