Can Terry Cavanagh’s new game for iPhone and iPad match the success of Super Hexagon?
Developer Terry Cavanagh is known for his anarchic but familiar approach to games design, and four years ago he solidified his status as a master of the form with VVVVVV; an uber-precise Metroidvania-style game whose centre of gravity rested on adventure, while its limbs explored platforming, pixel-perfect skill jumps and intrepid exploration.
The iOS port has been a long time coming, but ultimately worth it. Captain Viridian’s ship has crash landed on an 8-bit realm of gravity defiance: you can’t jump in VVVVVV, you can only ‘flip’. ‘Flipping’ is by default mapped to the right side of the screen, but the option to use a D-pad exists, too, though we found that was obstructive: you really need a decent view of everything, at all times, if you want to plan ahead and scope out the myriad of hidden off-shoots and secrets.
VVVVVV is pseudo-open world, meaning you have a hub to return to after every Module (read: level). Each section away from the hub introduces new obstacles to overcome in a user-friendly, iterative learning curve – the game is challenging, but never impossible. It’s a stylised, less-is-more approach to gaming executed superbly on the touch interface of the iPad or iPhone. Don’t let its classic arcade game skin put you off – beneath is a delicate, responsive masterpiece.
Both retro and innovative, this game could be decades old yet still feels excitingly fresh
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