VVVVVV

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Vvvvvv pic 7301.png

˙sdooɥʍ ˙˙˙ǝɹǝɥ ʌʌʌʌʌʌ ǝqıɹɔsǝp

(presses action button)

Describe VVVVVV here.

VVVVVV is an indie game created by Terry Cavanagh. It stars a little space explorer named Captain Viridian and his colorful crew. Their ship crashes and is sent into a strange, unfamiliar dimension, and scatters Viridian's crew across the land. He needs to find them and make sure that they're safe! And that's where you come in.

VVVVVV is a 2D platformer with exploration elements and no jump button. Instead, you have a flip button, which reverses your (and only your) gravity. Mastering this is essential to finishing the game. Other than that, there are no other methods of attack, power-ups, abilities, keys, locked doors, or any of that jazz -- the only thing standing between you and sweet victory are the challenges and puzzles put before you (and 7,612 spikes.)

Find the demo here. Buy the full version here or on Steam. It's also available on the Nintendo 3DS eShop, with added 3D effects of course.

Tropes used in VVVVVV include:
  • Abbey Road Crossing: The cover of this game's soundtrack parodies this.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In all three auto scrolling levels (The Tower, Panic Room and The Final Challenge), if the bottom or top of the screen gets close to you, a wall of spikes appear - and if you actually touch them, well, the same thing happens as if you touch ANY spike in the game. Note that this applies to both the top and bottom, so there's an Advancing Wall of Doom... but also a Retreating Wall of Doom.
  • Alliteration: But of course. Every crewmember's name starts with "V", as do a few level names ("Veni", "Vidi" and "Vici" come to mind). A better example might be the game's soundtrack "PPPPPP", which has its own pattern: each song name starts with, of course, P. [1]
  • Ambiguous Gender: Captain Viridian's gender is never revealed throughout the game. For sake of simplicity, this article refers to him as male.
  • Apocalypse How: Class X-5 at the end. You can fix it in time, however.
  • Are We There Yet?: Vermilion asks this at one point if taken to the the first intermission level.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The Tower, The Panic Room and The Final Challenge.
  • Automatic Level: The player level Vertical Vehicle does not require any movement from the player; there is only one button press in this level, and that's to collect a trinket.
  • Bittersweet Ending:
    • Although you do save all of your crew, you wind up screwing up the dimension you're stuck in, which will eventually cause it to collapse. Luckily, it is also a case of Take Your Time, in that it won't happen while you're around. Additionally,collecting all the trinkets teleports you to the Secret Lab, which, according to the crew, contains research that will save the dimension.
    • Not to mention that at the end of the game it seems that Viridian has managed to save his crew and allow them to return to their home, but he is sent hopelessly tumbling through space. Until your crew gets you back!
  • Call Back: In the Final Level, you come to a room titled "Please Enjoy These Repeats" (which later becomes "In The Margins" after disabling the Dimensional Stability Generator), which contains the "Yes Men" from the level... er... "Yes Men".
  • Captain Obvious: Vermilion.

WARNING: Disabling the Dimensional Stability Generator may lead to instability! Are you sure you want to do this?

  • Check Point
  • Check Point Starvation: The trinket "Prize for the Reckless" requires you to traverse some rooms while actively avoiding Check Points. And then, of course, there's No Death Mode.
  • Cheerful Child: Pretty much the whole crew contain shades of this - Violet asks if Viridian is okay, and when he says he's worried, she cheers him up by giving him a lollipop.
  • Chiptune: The soundtrack, as part of the retraux feel.
  • Color Coded for Your Convenience: The various areas in the VVVVVV dimension on the map are colored based on which one of the characters is there and needs to be rescued; the exception being the viridian area, which is the secret lab.
  • Colorful Theme Naming: The entire crew. Each name begins with a V, leading to the use of obscure colors like Vitellary.
  • Cosmetic Award: The trophies, awarded for beating ungodly hard and masochistic challenges. It's topped off with the trophy for beating No Death Mode, a giant statue of the combined characters that flashes in different colors.
  • Credits Medley: Popular Potpourri.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The music of VVVVVV is popular and constitutes a great deal of people's perspective on the game.
  • Death Is a Slap on The Wrist: Except in some unlockable modes.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The polar dimension.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • Each crew member's dialogue is different depending on which order you rescue them.
    • One of the trinkets, which the player has to die to get in normal mode, is made obtainable without having to die in no death mode and time attack mode. Name of said level changes in these modes.
    • In Flip Mode, the music plays backwards in The Tower (since the auto scrolling is also flipped), and the credits are right-side-up but scroll down from the top.
  • Endless Game: The Super Gravitron minigame, available in the Secret Lab after collecting all the Shiny Trinkets. It's a Survival Mode version of the Gravitron seen earlier in the game -- instead of counting down from 60 seconds, it counts up from 0, and you keep going until you die.
  • Epileptic Flashing Lights: The hidden elephant.
  • Escort Mission: Rather frustrating if you can't get the ceiling-floor mechanic right.
  • Exposition Cut: When Viridian rescues crew members, he describes the situation to them, to varying levels of understanding.
  • Filler: Much of the overworld map.
  • Final Boss, New Dimension: Not a final boss, per se, but after you disable the Dimension Stabilizer, the dimension, uh, destabilizes, transforming the area from drab gray Screenwrap Hell to a disco-colorful, screenwrap-free batch of fun.
  • Final Exam Boss: The full-stage variation. Several levels each have their own unique features, such as The Laboratory's inversion planes, the Space Station levels' quicksand blocks, Space Station 2's Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belts, The Tower's automatic vertical scrolling with an Advancing Wall of Doom, and the Warp Zone's wraparound rooms. Every last one of these[2] returns in The Final Level.
  • Five-Man Band: Talking with each member at unique times reveals information about their status:
    • The Hero: Captain Viridian, of course.
    • The Lancer: Doctor Violet, as Captain Viridian works with her occasionally to navigate the dimension.
    • The Smart Guy: Professor Vitellary. He is the first to deduce the situation between the anomalies of the VVVVVV dimension before the others had any idea onto what was going on.
    • The Big Guy: Officer Vermilion. He isn't afraid of going out to explore and charge into the unknown. If taken to the second intermission stage, he admits to having fun on the Gravitron.
    • The Chick: Doctor Victoria. As seen in the first intermission, she is afraid that something strange happened, casting her and Captain Viridian into the polar dimension. She continues to negatively impose that the two of them will never get home, so she needs Captain Viridian's guidance to continue on.
  • Follow the Money: There is one instance where the background provides a clue to where one is supposed to go next in the form of a giant arrow in The Tower.
  • Fusion Dance/All Your Colors Combined: Upon access to the secret lab.
  • Game Breaking Bug: If you have Invincibility on (available in the options menu), you can Sequence Breaking out of Space Station 1 and rescue the rest of the crew, though Violet won't be at the ship. If you decide to complete Space Station 1 normally, Violet will be back, but any crew members you've rescued beforehand will disappear. A bit more literally, turning Invincibility on can result in Viridian getting caught with moving platforms stuck in him - while the game ordinarily would have them either push Viridian out by the movement pattern or into spikes, he'll just get stuck in the latter case, forcing a return to the main menu. Also, using Invincibility to reach a room exit that you otherwise can't and there being a wall on the other side will cause Viridian to float in the direction of his feet until he's expelled, which could be never if there's a continuous wall on that side (avoided in the main game, but possible in some player-created levels).
  • Gotta Catch Them All: Three versions: Crew members, Shiny Trinkets, and the beta-only coins.
  • Gravity Screw: The whole point of the game.
  • Harder Than Hard: No Death Mode. Not only is it Exactly What It Says on the Tin - one hit ends the game - but saving is disabled, meaning not only can you not Save Scumming your way to victory, you have to complete it in one try. As of the Humble Bundle #3 release, nobody has done it legitimately, although there is a tool-assisted run on YouTube.
  • Inconveniently-Placed Conveyor Belt: Space Station 2 and The Final Level both have quite a few of them.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: Veni, Vidi, Vici.
  • Just Ignore It: Viridian's advice to Vitellary concerning Checkpoints.
  • Lampshade Hanging: If you enter the Artificial dimension with Vitellary, at the point where you join up, Vitellary runs through a checkpoint. After he realizes this, he will ask Viridian what it is and suggests they take it back to the ship to study. Viridian replies that it's probably best not to think about it too much.
  • Last Lousy Point:
    • Saying the words "Veni, Vidi, Vici" to anyone who has won 100% Completion is sure to incite an Unstoppable Rage. It's an optional trinket that forces you to use your powers of Gravity Screwing to bypass a chest-high wall. You have six screens to traverse at a set speed going straight up, all the while squeezing and weaving around walls filled to the brim with spikes. As you're a One-Hit-Point Wonder, the slightest mistake sends you back to the bottom. Once you finally, painfully get to the top (one of the screens on the way is called "Your Bitter Tears... Delicious"), you must land on a small platform that will vanish after a second, where you have to reverse the gravity and do it all again in reverse, on the same life. It is not at all unreasonable for this one section to make up more than half of the deaths on a typical playthrough. The remix soundtrack CD even references this on the back cover, with Chief Verdigris (the green one) taking a cutting torch to the block sitting in the way, with the other 5 crew members behind him.
    • The appropriately-titled "Prize for the Reckless" is just as lousy. You have to exploit the game's checkpoint mechanic of respawning you at the last check point you touched. That means going through three rooms without touching any checkpoints, to get to a disappearing platform that then allows a moving platform to get through. Then you kill yourself on the same screen to get to the checkpoint and to the trinket.
    • "Edge Games" requires some quick work on the action button and some quick (yet precise) maneuvering with the arrow keys. Specifically, one must fall "up" into a chamber just as an enemy passes, move left using the Wrap Around, quickly flip at least two times (timing it perfectly to miss the enemies), move right to the next gap, flip at least twice again (again, quickly yet well timed), then move left quickly enough to grab the trinket. Good luck if you're going for V rank on the Warp Zone, because then you have to go back through the same obstacles.
  • Law of Cartographical Elegance: Played with. With The Tower running right down the center of the map and blocking access to the other side, the Space Station levels and the Warp Zone can only be reached from the Ship by wrapping around from the left. Indeed, the Laboratory appears at the top and bottom of the map, wrapped around.
  • Level Editor: Included in Version 2.0 of the game.
  • Malevolent Architecture: The Space Station and Laboratory have numerous spikes and enemies, which brings to the question how people work there. However, it's justified, as the previous owners deliberately make it as hard as possible to reach the trinkets scattered about.
  • Meaningful Name: There are several ways to interpret the meaning behind the name "VVVVVV":
    • The six crew members, whose names all start with V.
    • Spikes, as mentioned below. Lots and lots of spikes...
    • The constant up-and-down Gravity Screw-ing.
    • The triangle-wave filled soundtrack.
  • Mercy Mode: Referenced in name of the "Easy Mode Unlocked" room, part of That One Level.
  • Metroidvania: Of sorts. While there are no upgrades to get in the vein of typical Metroidvanias, the world is free to explore right from the get-go, and you can tackle the individual levels in any order you wish.
  • Nintendo Hard: Despite frequent checkpoints, there is nothing unusual about dying hundreds, if not thousands of times before completing the game.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Word of God is that there is no official pronunciation for the title (Cavanagh and Pålsson call it "V", Raocow calls it quite literally "VvVvVv", other people say "V-V-V-V-V-V", "Six Vs," "The Letter V Six Times," etc.).
  • One-Letter Title: Or rather one letter, six times.
  • Only Idiots May Pass: The Dimensional Stabilizer at the end of the game... which you must deactivate.
  • Our Monsters Are Weird: You've got random numbers, buses, glitchy blocks, ghosts, lies... such as Manic Miner or Wanted: Monty Mole. Apparently, these are the products of Terry Cavanagh's dream diary.
  • Plot Coupon: Shiny trinkets.
  • Rank Inflation: S is not even the highest rank in VVVVVV's time trials. V is. Additionally, the lowest rank possible is B, indicating that merely clearing a time trial at all merits an above-average score.
  • Reconstruction: Of 80's gaming, particularly on the Commodore 64. Tempers its ridiculously difficult level design with infinite lives and plentiful checkpoints. It's essentially a retro game with modern sensibilities. Similarly, the music is in many ways a reconstruction of the Chiptune genre, doing a lot of new things with the format.
  • Recurring Riff:
    • "Positive Force" plays in three different parts of the game, and parts of it sound like Pushing Onwards (or vice versa).
    • "Pushing Onwards" itself plays in two different parts of the game, so between them these two songs probably account for a good third of the playtime, including some of the most infamous parts.
  • Replay Value: The trophies for time trials, Flip Mode, the Super Gravitron, and finishing the game with a limited amount of deaths.
  • Retraux: As should be extremely obvious. The design takes quite a few cues from classic Commodore 64 platformers; the in-game text is even set in an authentic Commodore font. And on the 3DS, the game's pre-startup image is a cassette tape.
  • Sampling: Word Of Soundtrack Composer confirms "Pushing Onwards" takes a bit from Ryu's and Guile's themes.
  • Save Game Limits: The main game only truly saves when you reach a teleporter, but you can quick save at any time. In the player levels, however, you can save at any checkpoint, making it easier to Save Scum your way to a low death count (of course, in the player levels, it doesn't matter how much you die since there's no record kept of it...).
  • Schmuck Bait: The Dimensional Stabilizer and the room called "What Lies Beneath?" (the room directly under it is called "Spikes do!").
  • Sdrawkcab Name: ecroF evitisoP, and while not backwards, flipping doomS upside-down gets the word Swoop.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Many of the screen names are references to common phrases, TV show titles, and other things.
    • The individually-named screens themselves are an homage to Jet Set Willy.
    • In a visual shout out, the monsters in the room "Sweeney's Maze" (named for Epic Games' CEO Tim Sweeney) are ripped straight from the ASCII game ZZT (made by, well, guess).
    • The disclaimer in the Super Gravitron in the Secret Lab is a funny shout-out to anyone who has used a ROM-based emulator.
  • Speed Run: The time trials.
  • Spikes of Doom: The whole game, as the game title suggests, is filled with thousands of spikes. Really.
  • Spiritual Successor: To Metal Storm and Wendy: Every Witch Way.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: "The Warning", a room filled with checkpoints (so it sounds like an alarm when you run through them). It comes directly before Veni Vidi Vici. To be honest, finding any checkpoint means you're likely about to run a gauntlet of masochism.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: There are numerous teleporters scattered around the VVVVVV dimension, and when you finish the game, you can teleport back to the ship at any time.
  • Temporary Platform
  • Time Trial: Six available, based on the colored sections and intermissions.
  • Title Drop: The last screen before the ending. Also, the name of the dimension in which the game takes place.
  • Trial and Error Gameplay: Some screens feature that.
  • Triumphant Reprise: "Positive Force" to "Pushing Onwards".
  • Unobtanium: One of the rooms with a Shiny Trinket is named, in fact, 'Purest Unobtanium'. Ironically, it's one of the easier trinkets to get, although it is quite easy to miss if you don't know what to look for.
  • Updated Rerelease: The game got one as part of the Humble Indie Bundle III, where it was completely re-written in code from Flash to C++, two new tracks were added, and a level editor was included. Additionally, a port to the Nintendo 3DS' eShop adds new levels and 3D visuals.
  • Video Game 3D Leap: Well, not exactly, but the idea's garnered quite a bit of interest.
  • Video Game Caring Potential: You will want to keep your entire crew safe. Their sad faces are too heartbreaking to suffer.
  • Wrap Around:
    • In many rooms, it is the key element. The entire main area wraps around, both horizontally and vertically - in fact, the good Professor Vitellary even refers to the trope by name in his description of Dimension VVVVVV. His theory is that it is because of the dimension's peculiar instability.
    • This trope is also subverted in one area of the overworld (which comes before the area that does use actual wrap-around). You seem to be falling through the same room multiple times, but it is in fact multiple identical rooms - keep falling and you'll reach the bottom!
  1. "Predestined Fate", "Potential for Anything", "Popular Potpourri", etc.
  2. Except the Warp Token, which is basically just a one-way screen exit anyways.