VVVVVV is a PC game that goes by many names. V6, V, “Spikes”; whatever you call it, odds are you’ll replace it’s moniker with a host of obscenities by the time you’re ten minutes in. Make no mistake: V is a hard game, despite the fact that it’s possible to beat in under thirty minutes – it’s also one of the best platformers I’ve ever played.
But is the 3DS version enough to warrant a double-dip? Read on to find out.
V stars a humble hero named Captain Viridian, and is kind of a cross between Mega Man and Metroid, in that it plays like a twitch platformer, but has a decent amount of exploration elements built into it. Except in V, there is only really one button, outside of left and right movement – “flip”. Pressing nearly any button on the 3DS will flip our courageous Captain up and down: and it’s pretty amazing how many concepts can be extrapolated from this one simple action. Levels will be filled with spikes (enough to make Dr. Wily proud), enemies, polarity lines, warps, and enough bullets to make a shmup sweat.
The object of the game is to locate your loyal crew members who are scattered across a mysterious world. Surprisingly, despite the minimalistic look, V offers up a pretty interesting story – while you’re rescuing your friends and comrades, they’ll comment both on their relationship with you, but also their relationship with each other. While it may not be enough to make anyone re-evaluate their lives, it’s still pretty engaging.
Thankfully, there are checkpoints in-between pretty much every screen, allowing you to instantly restart as soon as you fall, flip, or fling to your untimely death. If you’re looking for something to do in addition to finding your five crew mates and completing the final challenge, you can also seek out the twenty secret medallions scattered across the game’s sprawling map to unlock an extra ending.
3D wise, V doesn’t really take advantage of the hardware. While I have absolutely no issue with the endearing Commodore 64 era graphical style, the game doesn’t really make use of any worthwhile 3D effects. Similar to 3D Classics: Kirby’s Dreamland, all of the effects are extremely subtle – so if you’re expecting a drastic jump from the PC game, prepare to be disappointed. While the visuals don’t necessarily look better on a bigger screen (for example a PC monitor), it is a bit jarring at times to play some sections on the tiny 3DS.
Thankfully, the one addition to the 3DS version is the utilization of the bottom screen to view your current progress, and the world map. Visuals aside, the Souleye developed score remains delightfully old school and one of the best “retro” soundtracks of all time. In fact, the soundtrack is so good, that I’d recommend purchasing it even if you’ve never played the game.
After all is said in done with the main game (which could take you anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours), there are eighteen extra levels designed specifically for the 3DS version, including one by Minecraft overlord Notch. Most of these levels are extremely well done, and some are so long that they rival the main game’s length – a few even have their own little story to them.
Additionally, there’s a “No Death” Mode, a “Time Trial” mode, and a “Flip Mode” (that seems to be pretty buggy at the moment). Note that there’s no level editor, so it’s not the definitive version of the game, but the 3D version of V has enough content to justify double dipping for some people – for others, stick with the $5 (or less) PC version.
This review is based on a digital copy of the 3DS game VVVVVV.