VVVVVV is a platformer game released by Terry Cavanagh in 2010, based around a single simple idea–what if, instead of jumping, you could reverse gravity? The plot of the game is that a crew of five people has some kind of accident that leaves it stuck, and with the screw scattered across the area when there’s a transporter problem. You are the captain and it’s your responsibility to find your crew members and return them to the ship so you can leave again. You can flip gravity–the reason for this is not explained, but none of the other crew members seem to be able to do it, some captain’s privilege I guess. The one restriction is that to flip it , you have to have your feet on a solid surface–you can’t flip back and forth in mid-air, you have to wait until you land.

As you explore around the crash site, you find each of the crew members in sections that have their own variants of the regular rules. In one section, most of the exits from the screen just wrap around to the opposite side of the room. In one section there are reversal lines that will flip gravity when you cross them, making for some very strange maneuvers you have to do maneuver around rooms filled with them. The most interesting section was after you rescue one of the crew members that guy follows you closely but only when you’re on the ground. You have to choose your flipping very carefully to lead him through each room without him getting stuck or killed by spikes or flying projectiles.

As you explore the map, you find teleporters that allow you to jump between them so even as your explored territory gets bigger your mobility drastically increases, making it not tedious to move around even a large map once you’ve explored.

The game is simple. Not much in the way of graphics and story. But it was a very enjoyable platform-jumping action. The gravity-reversal maneuvering made for some interesting level design, rooms that look like they should be straightforward platform-jumping but become much more complicated. Made an interesting combination of puzzling and platforming. I wouldn’t say that it’s substantial by any means, but it’s a fun diversion.

Visuals
Obviously, not impressive.

Audio
Old school, but still catchy and fast-paced, in the chiptune bent. Kind of reminded me of the Mega Man II soundtrack.

Challenge
A good level of challenge, at least for the main quest. Some of the sidequests are absurdly difficult in a way that I don’t find appealing. There was one section that I saw where to get an optional collectible token, you have to fall through five screens filled with twisty spiked vertical corridors, moving back and forth as you fall to avoid the spikes. I can’t imagine the amount of times it would take to get that just perfect, but I really didn’t care to try.

Story
Not much of it.

Session Time
There are checkpoints all over the place and you can save at any time, so it’s easy to play the game in small segments.

Playability
Easy, just left and right for walking, up to flip gravity.

Replayability
If you are interested in trying to get all the tokens then it could provide some extended playing, though once you get those there’s not much else to do.

Originality
A simple idea, but a fun one that I hadn’t seen before.

Playtime
It took me about 2 hours to finish the main quest. I’m not sure how much it would take to get the rest of the tokens.

Overall
It was a fun game that took a simple but novel idea and explored it about as much as the idea was worth. The full list price on Steam is $5 which isn’t a bad price for the fun, despite the short playtime and graphics. Getting it on sale wouldn’t hurt.

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