Developer: Terry Cavanagh
Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.01
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★☆☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★★★½
Gameplay Rating: ★★★★★
Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

VVVVVV doesn’t look particularly inspiring, does it? For those who grew up during the home computer era of the Spectrum and Commodore 64, it’s the kind of look that can be forgiven more easily than for the younger gamer, but it’s still hardly a looker. Get past that shallow thinking though, and one will find that VVVVVV is exceptionally good – albeit ridiculously frustrating in equal measures.

vvvvv4Previously a PC release, some players including myself will have enjoyed the suffering that VVVVVV has provided in the past. It’s tough and sometimes deeply infuriating, but thanks to some clever placement of checkpoints it’s also the kind of game that will keep players coming back until they’ve beaten it.

The storyline is simple enough yet quite interesting, telling the tale of a space captain as he attempts to track down the rest of his crew in a very aggressive environment. For a series of basic-looking pixels, it’s surprising how attached one can end up feeling towards the characters here.

It’s the gameplay that truly shines for VVVVVV, though. The left-hand side of the screen dictates direction, while a tap on the right-hand side allows the player to flip around, working as a form of jump button when attaching one’s self to another platform. It’s very simple, which allows for frustration to come from the challenge of the game rather than anything more complicated. While some touch screen controls can be too sensitive, VVVVVV hits the spot near perfectly.

vvvvv2A steady supply of checkpoints means that after dying one rarely loses much progress, but it’s still going to take hours to complete VVVVVV. Much of the beauty comes from working hard towards a kind of perfect run with statistics about how many deaths that have occurred always available from the menu, as well as the end of the game. Further modes as well as a selection of player created worlds just makes VVVVVV all the sweeter.

VVVVVV is punishing for sure, but the sheer level of satisfaction it offers is similarly fantastic. It truly is something special.

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