VVVVVV 3DS Review

Retro fans will find a lot to love about VVVVVV, a modern day platform adventure (first released in 2010 for PC and Mac) with graphics that pay homage to the dusty old Commodore 64 with delightful music to match.

Just because the visuals look simplistic, though, doesn't mean the game's a cakewalk. On the contrary, it's one of the toughest you'll find on the 3DS eShop. To that end, expect to die hundreds of times (yes, hundreds), only to croak some more while enjoying the bonus levels.

VVVVVV is all about manipulating gravity. You play as Captain Viridian, who sets off to rescue five crewmembers while exploring some funky dimension.

Completing the task at hand involves pressing one of the system's face buttons to reverse the flow of gravity, causing the good Captain to flip upside down to walk along walls and vice versa. There's no jump to speak of, forcing you to rely on this mechanic to avoid spikes and strange creatures.

On that note, it's easy to get both lost and frustrated. The over world map, located on the bottom screen, is so tiny it makes figuring out exactly where to go difficult.

In addition to that, the game requires pinpoint precision and quick decision-making. Most times, Viridian will fly upwards, passing through multiple screens filled with hazards before landing on some surface or meeting his tragic end.

This means a hefty amount of trial and error. Make no mistake, it's impossible to beat VVVVVV the first time through without dying at least once. It's the type of game design we have a love/hate relationship with, simply because we feel almost powerless moving from one screen to the next. At times, it seems like the developer doesn't give us a fighting chance.

Thankfully, the game includes a plethora of checkpoints that help make dying a bit less painful. It also helps that the game has a well-written story, as Viridian interacts with his crew and various objects within the world. If anything, the desire to find out what happened next kept us playing through adversity.

On the downside, VVVVVV costs $7.99, putting it on the high end of eShop games. We also have nothing but bad things to say about the 3D effect, which does little to enhance the old school graphics while leaving ghost images of various objects cluttering the screen.

Other than that, it's one of the more unique games we've seen for 3DS and another fine addition to the handheld's downloadable library. VVVVVV lacks some flash, but more than makes up for this with hardcore play.

What's Hot: Commodore 64 style graphics, catchy music, tough gravity switching gameplay, bonus levels.

What's Not: $7.99 asking price, no level editor, disappointing 3D effects.

4/5