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VVVVVV Review

By , on June 13, 2014
Last modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago


VVVVVV
Download on the AppStore
5 out of 5

PROS

  • Pixel perfect platforming
  • Great retro art and audio design
  • Inversion mechanics creates interesting twitch puzzles

CONS

  • Incredibly challenging if you want to 100% finish the game
  • Brings nothing new for returning players

VERDICT

While some players will prefer to play VVVVVV with physical controls, this iOS port is a brilliant portable version of a truly excellent indie platformer.


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Originally released back in 2010, Terry Cavanagh's VVVVVV has been a long time coming to iOS. A lot of this time has been spent making sure the touch controls live up to original's button-based system. It's a huge consideration for this precision platformer as any issues would ruin the experience. So, it is with some excitement that we can say that Cavanagh has pulled it off.

The story begins with your character Capt. Viridian telling his crew to abandon ship as the vessel is sucked into a temporal disturbance. Escaping through your craft's teleporter, you are all thrown to different sections of the an alternate dimension. As Captain it falls to you to find your team and bring them back together, with little more than a map to guide you through the 2D open world.

Charming chiptune audio, Spectrum-era 8-bit pixel art, and limited neon colour palette instantly transport you to the '80s, setting the scene for VVVVVV's pixel-perfect philosophy. Swiping on the left of the screen directs Viridian left and right, while tapping on the right side of the screen inverts gravity, propelling him onto the ceiling. 

It is this inversion that creates the foundation of the game’s puzzle-platforming. Unable to jump, you must constantly fling Viridian towards the roof and back again to pass obstacles, avoid spikes, and dodge various other death-dealing traps. It's a tough game, and no less tough on mobile, but the touchscreen controls do a great job of replicating the feel of the original.

Each crewmember is located in an area with new. physics-altering effects that make you rethink how you play the game. From barriers that automatically switch the direction of gravity, to areas where your rescuee will only follow you when your feet are on the ground, these mechanics keep you constantly re-evaluating how you interact with the world.

If you want to make things really hard on yourself, you can try to collect all the hidden items. To reach these you must master a variety of inversion puzzles that require quick reactions and a good memory. These sections are infuriating but prove the exception rather than the rule, with the main quest keeping things manageable thanks to liberal checkpointing, making death feel like a learning experience rather than a punishment.

VVVVVV on iOS is a fine port of the original game. While the touch controls may remove the authenticity of its Spectrum styling, they work perfectly allowing you to enjoy its tight puzzle-platforming anywhere you like.

Screenshots

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