One of the best iOS titles of the past few years is easily Super Hexagon, a mind-boggling eye-melting twitch game from the brain of one Terry Cavanagh, who is either genius or madman – possibly both.
As such, I jumped at the chance to check out VVVVVV (App Store/Google Play), a critically acclaimed Cavanagh platformer that previously graced Windows, Mac OS and Nintendo 3DS. Spoiler alert: IT’S BLOODY BRILLIANT.
In VVVVVV, our protagonist Captain Viridian and his spaceship crewmates crash land, and ultimately we’re tasked with wandering around a Metroidvania-style map in order to find everyone and get the hell out of there.
VVVVVV is a platformer with a difference, in the sense that there’s no jump button. Logical question: how the hell do you move around and, y’know, do all the platforming?
Well, give the invisible virtual button in the bottom right a tap, and you’ll find Captain Viridian flips upside down, now running along the ceiling instead of the floor.
It’s an interesting concept, sure, and while I initially feared that an entire game based around that concept might eventually prove tedious, I’m glad to say I was dead wrong. It’s utterly incredible the amount of juice Cavanagh manages to squeeze.
Similarly, any concerns about VVVVVV’s touch controls were quickly allayed, too, with the swipe-to-move mechanic working a treat.
Things to love about VVVVVV include the retro visuals and Magnus Pålsson’s fantastic chiptune soundtrack, which, incidentally, was released separately as PPPPPP.
The level design is spot on, too, with several variations on the exploring theme. In addition to plain old wandering around, you’ll occasionally find yourself in a fixed area, where moving off the left of the screen, for example, sees you reappear on the right.
There’s also a time-critical vertical scrolling section, and a 60-second survival challenge – all seamlessly baked into the main game. Excellent stuff.
Needless to say, the difficulty is right near the top of the scale, but VVVVVV never feels unfair or overly harsh. Conversely, it’s immensely satisfying, and I actually found myself laughing when I screwed up one particular section ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY TIMES.
On that note, you’ll also find checkpoints scattered around liberally, so there’s no fear of having to repeat particularly brutal sections, and the game resultantly has a nice flow; it’s never laborious despite the difficulty.
So, yeah, all in all VVVVVV is one of the best games you’ll find on the App Store, thoroughly deserving of the abundant praise it’s received in the past – and continues to receive today with a new audience. Love it.
- Charming retro gameplay
- The chiptune soundtrack
- The walk-on-the-ceiling concept
- Frequent checkpoints
- The touch controls work a treat (surprisingly)
- Nah, not really
Summary: I find myself running out of adjectives here, but VVVVVV is brilliant, unique, sublime, memorable, hugely endearing; all those things and more, and you’re doing yourself a great disservice if you don’t play it.
Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.