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VVVVVV (3DS eShop) Review

Review for VVVVVV on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Terry Cavanagh’s Commodore 64-inspired VVVVVV finally comes to the European Nintendo 3DS eShop. As the download service begins to pick up steam, Cubed3 defies gravity and jumps into this little space platformer to find out if it is worth your pennies.

Console digital download services have had some absolute gems of games released on them this generation, and whilst Nintendo’s systems have missed out on quite a few of these over the years, the Wii has had the likes of the Bit.Trip series, LostWinds and its sequel, plus World of Goo to satisfy owners of the little white box. Slowly but surely, the Nintendo 3DS’ eShop has been churning out a fair few games, too, and it looks like the quality of these titles is increasing all the time. Some of the best and most innovative games to come out in recent times are frequently appearing through consoles’ online stores, so it is with such joy to say that possibly the finest original game to hit the 3DS eShop is here at last.

The uniquely-named VVVVVV, the title of which has numerous meanings that become clear as you play, is, in a word, genius. Players take control of a little man named Viridian, who has to evacuate his spaceship when dimensional interference causes things to go haywire. His crew-mates get thrown to random places of the alternate dimension they end up in, called VVVVVV. As the captain, Viridian vows to track down his lost friends and sort out the interference affecting the ship.

VVVVVV is a 2D platformer with a twist. Instead of jumping, the player controls gravity with the press of a button. When Viridian is on a flat surface, a tap of any of the action buttons will cause him to fall in the opposite direction. By playing with gravity players can run along floors and ceilings, dodging deadly spikes and enemies and traversing the numerous traps and dangers littered in just about every room. Other mechanics make their way into the gameplay later, such as springy tightropes, moving floors and screens that put you on the opposite side as you walk off them. This puzzle element and sublime level design is what makes VVVVVV so brilliant.

Screenshot for VVVVVV on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Checkpoints are scattered every few seconds of progress, but players will quickly find out why. This game is hard. It does become frustrating in parts and it won’t be uncommon for anyone to take in excess of twenty tries to clear certain areas. In some cases, such as attempting to collect one of the many shiny trinkets dotted throughout the game in incredibly difficult areas, a hundred attempts may not be far from the truth. Players re-spawn immediately at the last checkpoint, though, meaning it isn’t as much of a problem as it sounds. Getting through the short adventure is a challenge in itself, but after beating the game it’s time to put everything learned beforehand to the test in the extra levels. As well as insanely tough stages to conquer, time trialling previous areas from the main game and tackling the mirrored mode will really test even the most hardened of gamer.

The 'issue' is, VVVVVV proves to be so addictive that it is almost impossible to not come back for more. There is something about games like this that use such simple concepts with only a few key buttons and are designed with a colourful old-school effect that is so appealing. The Commodore 64 graphical style and retro chip-tune soundtrack will give older gamers a refreshing nostalgic kick, along with a reminder of just how tough many games of the 80s were, but, most importantly, will put a smile on the faces of all that play from beginning to end.

Screenshot for VVVVVV on 3DS eShop - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review


Left, right, flip. Simple controls and one wonderful mechanic create a unique twist on the 2D platform genre. Patience is a virtue, however, as this is one tough cookie.


Purposefully designed with a retro 8-bit style and emulates the old-school effect so well. Auto-stereoscopic 3D adds a subtle level of depth to layers that help them stand out in each colourful room. The appearance does get a bit repetitive and bland, though, but it does what it sets out to do -- create a Commodore 64 look.


Easily one of the highlights of the game. Magnus Pålsson’s delightful chip-tune soundtrack is one that complements the old-school graphics perfectly, never failing to fill players with joy, and unknowingly making them hum along.


The main game will last around three hours, but extra modes and levels provide far more than twice the play time. At £7.20/€8.00, VVVVVV is one of the more expensive titles on the eShop, but if a digital game is the dish of the day right now, this will not let anyone down. It is the sort of title that can be picked up and played in short bursts and will have players going back time and time again.

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

About this score
Rated 8 out of 10

No doubt about it, VVVVVV is one of the best games out on the 3DS eShop. It is a wonderful reminder that, in an age of super powerful consoles with HD and 3D graphics, old-school 2D games with simple concepts can still deliver some of the most addictive and downright fun entertainment. From the moment the Commodore 64-like load screen comes into view, to the point that last annoying trinket is finally grabbed, VVVVVV rewards players with so much enjoyment and satisfaction in a game that will challenge even the most skilled of gamers.

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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (1 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date TBA   Australian release date Out now   

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It's a bit too retro looking for me. There is no reason why they couldn't have made it look a little better. The gameplay loks a little too repetative too. While I like the concept, I don't think it's enough to base an entire game on.

Senior ModeratorStaff MemberOur member of the week

Sure, the graphics will be hit and miss for some. Retro fans will get a real kick out of it, not to mention the fantastic soundtrack.

However, while I understand you might think it looks repetitive from video footage, playing it is a different matter. Being a short game also meant it never dragged on for too long; the start to finish time felt very ample for a game like this. So the 'entire game' thing is redundant because it's not like this is a 20 hour game. It's a short blast of fresh air and joy from beginning to end. And those that really liked the main game will love the extra designer levels afterwards, too.

I would recommend this to all 3DS owners, except the price tag may not be appealing to everyone, which may be a problem. Hopefully not, though, because those that I know have played it have loved it.

Cubed3 Staff :: Senior Editor
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Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I love the graphics, they're just part of the charm for me..

I just ugh I love VVVVVV so much, I'd probably give it a 9 if I were to review it simply because it's so fun in short bursts despite being a short game, plus I just can't get enough of the music Smilie
It's so ingenious I can't help but want more so I'm really grateful for the fanmade stages, I'd buy a sequel in a heartbeat too! So for me at least, yes definitely more than good enough for such a small cheap game. Smilie

This game kept me going during my most stressful weeks of my final semester I have a lot of feelings for it.

Praise VVVVVV and its creator and its musician

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery

Yeah, a fantastic game. I got it with one of the Humble Bundles last year.

As Superlink said, the visuals are part of the charm about it.

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