While I still have a few “End of Year” games to discuss, after having beaten(!) VVVVVV, I had to talk about it.

The above mentioned title, with its six consonants, is very similar to the other punish-fest Super Meat Boy. Both have simplistic graphics, both have catchy music, and both games have you dying. A lot. A LOT.

Players step into the anti-grav shoes of Captain Viridian as he looks for his lost crew in this dangerous and unstable dimension. The graphics are monochrome and very simplistic, not unlike a Commodore 64 or early computer games. All of this, of course, is just a backdrop for the gameplay, but the characters have a charming appeal to them regardless.

The game itself is there to beat you senseless, however. It’s all purely a matter of timing, or figuring out the fiendish trap that the room lays out before you, or just simply being fast enough. And yet, for the number of times that I did in any given room, I never felt cheated, and it never felt unfair. This wasn’t BS design. This was challenge, and it puts a platformer enthusiast’s skills to the test. The game does not hold you hand. It expects you to learn it. Or better yet, understand it. There were some rooms that the little Captain just could not get through. And yet, in one shining moment of clarity, the room began to make sense, and the escape from it was rewarding. The plentiful checkpoints keep the mental and emotional “Rragggh die” moments to a minimum.

The 3D effect in this game is minimal. Just a tiny bit of depth perception that doesn’t drastically change the game’s look, but it is noted, and is merely just a pleasant little touch.

As noted, the music is a highpoint of the game, as it’s very catchy and pleasant to cruise through the game to. Even when not searching for crew members or trinkets, exploring the game’s world was pleasant, and the anti-grav mechanic never got tiresome for me. A little stressful during some of the more tense traps, but manageable due to the clever nature of the design.

For the 3DS eShop taking forever to find its footing, it’s been fairly consistent of late in terms of putting out quality, fun titles. I hope this recent distribution is the norm and not the exception, and Nintendo has truly learned from its mistakes regarding digital distribution on the Wii and DSi. VVVVVV is a good old “Nintendo Hard” hop ‘n’ bop that is probably the most creative and fair-minded “punishment” program I’ve played in a while. Sure, the game has no problem in killing your diminutive Captain hundreds, if not thousands of times, but hey, at least it’s entertaining.

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