VVVVVV is a wonderful retro-feel platform game by Terry Cavanagh with a soundtrack by Magnus Pålsson. I purchased it as part of the Humble Indie Bundle a while ago, and was very impressed all round. You can play it on Windows, Mac and Linux, and even on 3DS.
The basic premise of the game is that you have become marooned in a strange dimension and your crew are scattered throughout. The objective is to find them all and reunite. You do this by exploring dimension VVVVVV and escorting your crewmates back to the ship.
The game mechanics are deceptively simple. You can move left and right, and “flip” the gravity to walk on either the ceiling or the floor. What could be easier? The game progresses screen by screen in any direction, but with no scrolling, and almost every screen presents some kind of puzzle to get you from the entrance to the exit. Occasionally you may come across a “shiny trinket” which you can collect, or a transporter, which allows you to relocate to some of the pre-determined areas in the map.
There are a few other interactive elements in the game, or more succinctly, things that kill you. You may be killed by spikes or by being crushed by platforms, or perhaps by one of the many random baddies that tend to move on predefined paths. In short, unless it’s a platform, terminal/checkpoint, a transporter or a shiny trinket, it’ll probably kill you. That said, there are few nasty surprises, and with unlimited lives the challenge is getting from screen to screen.
The atmosphere created by the game is undoubtably retro, with a fantastic electronic soundtrack that bubbles with energy. It fits the game wonderfully and can be downloaded as a soundtrack too – highly recommended for running! The simple graphics and bright colours keep the energy high and the game engaging, and you can easily have hundreds of failed attempts without getting bored.
The game starts off with simple puzzles and builds up to more complex ones, often requiring quick reflexes and a bit of risk-taking to progress in the game. That said, you can save at any point, and there are checkpoints scattered around after many of the puzzles.
This is an engaging and entertaining platform puzzler, that looks great and has a dark sense of humour. Combined with the retro style and simple mechanics, this makes VVVVVV an excellent investment. Go and play the demo! Or watch a trailer, at least.