I had to double-check, but I don’t think I’ve written about playing VVVVVV on the Nintendo 3DS yet. Sure, I excitedly put down some words when it was announced that it was coming to the little-handheld-that-could, but that doesn’t really do the thing justice, as that was more about me moving from playing a control-heavy puzzle platformer on my lackluster Mac’s mouse and keyboard to on something a bit more viable, like the Nintendo 3DS. Yes, I like jumping by pushing a button, not clicking a mouse; don’t sue me. Though, in VVVVVV‘s case, it’s more like flipping than jumping.
I’ll do y’all a solid and re-summarize the short, but sturdy story: Captain Viridian has to both save a dimension on the brink of collapse and find his spaceship’s missing crew members–all of whose names begin with the letter V. There’s six of ’em. See the connection to the game’s title yet? No? Well, just keep trying, and remember that it’s always good to have goals. Anyways, you save friends and the dimension by having Captain Viridian traverse around a somewhat Metroidvania-like map, flipping to the ceiling and across moving platforms and avoiding deadly spikes and getting lost. A retro-inspired chiptune soundtrack fuels the wind beneath Viridian’s feet as you explore space and the weird rooms and buildings filling in the gaps.
I’ve definitely gotten farther playing VVVVVV on the 3DS than the computer, and that’s to say that I’ve rescued a total of four out of the six lost crew members, as well as found three trinkets (out of twenty), which I’m not actively hunting down. Flipping gravity on its head is a simple button press, but there have been a few tough spots that have taken time and practice to nail perfectly, especially when the levels move and you can’t see what is ahead of you before you jump; thankfully, just like in Super Meat Boy, death is quick, and the music never stops, so you always feel like you’re progressing, even if you’re technically not. It definitely helps to keep you in the game, as a long death and reload animation would have been both cumbersome and off-putting. Instead, you just get up and try again.
However, I’ve reached my “stuck” point, and that is the levels called “Do As I Say” and “Not As I Do”, which involve Captain Viridian leading a found crew member to, hopefully, a teleporter that will bring them back to the ship’s control room. Unfortunately, any time Captain Viridian is standing on the ground, the crew member will walk over to him, and you have to lead them across moving platforms and over spikes–and it is no easy thang. I watched someone on YouTube do it in about 45 seconds, but I spent about ten minutes alone going at it, only to frustratingly give up and turn the 3DS off before I threw it in a blender and went to Smoothie Town.
As with my recent roadblock in Mutant Mudds, I’ll just put the game aside for a bit and come back to it later with a clean aura. Only two more crew members to save, and one is currently following me around. That has to mean I’m close to the end, right? Well, time will tell, unless I can’t get past this part, in which case I’ll just have to track down that person on YouTube, invite them over for dinner, beg them to do it for me, and the shove them in a special barrel and dissolve them into goo so no one will ever know….oh, sorry about that last part. Been catching up on Breaking Bad, you see. I would never do that. But the problem is that I can’t go back and explore more of the map until this part is complete, so it really is this or never seeing any more of VVVVVV, which would be a bummer.