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Videogame: VVVVVV

˙sdooɥʍ ˙˙˙ǝɹǝɥ ʌʌʌʌʌʌ ǝqı̣ɹɔsǝp

*click*

Describe VVVVVV here.

VVVVVV is an indie game created by Terry Cavanagh. It stars the crew of a little space ship: player character Captain Viridian, Doctor Violet, Officer Vermilion, Professor Vitellary, Doctor Victoria, and Chief Verdigris. Their ship crashes and is sent into a strange, unfamiliar dimension, and scatters Viridian's crew across the land. The Captain 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, in place of a jump button, a "Flip" button to reverse your character's (personal) gravity. Mastering this is essential to finishing the gamenote  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 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. There's also the Make and Play edition, which includes the level editor and several player-made maps, and is free.


This game provides examples of:

  • Abbey Road Crossing: The cover of this game's soundtrack parodies this.
  • Added Alliterative Appeal: 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. note 
  • 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.
  • All There in the Manual: On one hand, the game's manual actually doesn't explain the story at all or what obstacles you'll have to avoid. On the other, it does give you a complete statistical breakdown of spikes in the game....
  • All The Worlds Are A Stage: 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 thesenote  returns in The Final Level.
  • Antepiece: The game is famously very hard with lots of intricate platforming challenges. But occasionally the game will help you out by preceding a setpiece with an antepiece, a simplified version of the challenge that coaches you for the real thing. It has at least two antepieces. Here is the easier example: the player moves from left to right here. When they go through one of those lines, the direction of gravity is reversed. To get through the red room they just hold right, the next room is much trickier but the player has a pattern in mind to help them.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Captain Viridian's gender is never revealed throughout the game. (Appropriately, that's the player character ["That's you!"], and the game doesn't know what gender you are.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Auto-Scrolling Level: The Tower, The Panic Room, and The Final Challenge.
  • 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.
  • Boss Warning Siren: The game has a screen named "The Warning". One tunnel, no spikes, eight checkpoints in a row. It leads into one of the hardest (but thankfully optional) sections of the game.
  • Brutal Bonus Level: The v2.0 and Nintendo 3DS versions of the game come with, not one, but eighteen full size player-made levels that are more or less harder than the main game.
  • 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".
    • Also in the Final Level, there is the "Three's Company" room which is nearly identical to (but slightly harder than) the "Three's A Crowd" room from the Laboratory.
  • 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. The one in Doing Things the Hard Way leads you through a series of rooms with nothing but spikes to get to a Temporary Platform so you can do the whole thing again, just to get past a square half your height. And then, of course, there's No Death Mode....
  • Cheerful Child: Pretty much the whole crew contain shades of this - Violet cheers up a worried Viridian with 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 colours.
  • Credits Medley: Popular Potpourri.
  • Cult Soundtrack: The music of VVVVVV is popular and constitutes a great deal of people's perspective on the game.
  • Cut Song: Word of Soundtrack Composer says that "Phear" was originally meant to play during an Easter Egg, but Terry Cavanagh didn't have the time to implement it. There's also a remix of "Predestined Fate" intended for the final level that doesn't kick in for some reason (the PC version plays the original version of the song, not the remix); the latter was fixed for the 3DS release.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Except in some unlockable modes, checkpoints are frequent (almost one per screen) and the delay between getting killed and respawning is pretty short.
  • The Dev Team Thinks of Everything:
    • Each crew member's dialogue is different depending on which order you rescue them.
    • One of the trinkets (Prize for the Reckless), 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 to "I Can't Believe You Got This Far" and "Imagine Spikes There If You Like", respectively.
    • In Flip Mode, the Tower's music plays backwards (as it's scrolling the other direction visually), and the credits are right-side-up but scroll down from the top.
    • In a room where a crew member normally only follows you when you're on the floor, the hint text is changed to specify that, in Flip Mode, the crew member will follow you when you're standing on the ceiling.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The polar dimension.
  • End Game Results Screen: It displays how long it took the player to beat the game as well as how many trinkets he or she has gotten (and how many deaths).
  • 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: Intermission 1. Rather frustrating if you can't get the ceiling-floor mechanic right.
  • Everything Trying to Kill You: Basically, if it moves it can kill you. This includes moving platforms, as some of them pass close enough to spikes to kill you if you don't hop off of them first. It's also lampshaded by one of the terminals in the Warp Zone, where a scientist recalls having to run away from a giant cube with the word "AVOID" on it.
  • Exposition Cut: After rescuing crew members, Viridian 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.
  • Five-Man Band: Talking with each member at unique times reveals information about their status (although Chief Verdigris is sort of hard to place):
    • 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 he's rescued early enough, he randomly pops throughout the game and gives commentary to his surroundings. 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 doubt that the two of them will ever get home, so she needs Captain Viridian's guidance to continue on.
  • Flip Screen Scrolling: As part of its Retraux appeal, there is no scrolling; walk (or fall) off the edge and you'll flip to the next screen (with the exception of Wrap Around and Auto Scrolling areas).
  • Follow the Leader: After VVVVVV's success, other games based on Retraux graphics, gravity flipping, and monoalphabetic names sprouted.
  • 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 break 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, although you will keep your trinkets. A bit more literally, turning Invincibility on can result in Viridian getting caught with moving platforms stuck in the player - while the game ordinarily would have them either push Viridian out by the movement pattern or into spikes, you'll just get stuck in the latter case, forcing a return to the main menu.
    • Commit suicide using the "r" button on the keyboard when everyone is being teleported around in the intro if you press it right as you land into the room you normally teleport into. Instead of respawning in the same room, you'll spawn in the ship, free to explore the game normally. Completing Space Station I when in this state will also mysteriously cause any rescued members to go missing.
    • 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 until 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: Your primary ability. Note that you can't flip your gravity in midair — once you hit the Flip button, you can't flip back until you hit solid ground again (or die trying); the developer has noted that this is what keeps it from becoming "a jump button".
  • 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 Scum your way to victory, you have to complete it in one try.
  • 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. See Last Lousy Point below.
  • Just Ignore It: Viridian's advice to Vitellary concerning Checkpoints.
  • 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. Note that because of the design of this section, it is also possible to land down on the same side of the waist-high wall you came from if you mess up at the end, necessitating that you do it all over again even though you didn't die. 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 to respawn on the same screen so you can use the platform and get 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 centre 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.
  • Level In Reverse: Flip Mode inverts the world vertically, including the names of rooms and dialogue bubbles.
  • Level-Map Display: And each area is color-coded according to the crew member you rescue from it. Outside the colored-zone areas, the map display is also a fairly-accurate representation of the actual terrain in each room.
  • 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.
  • 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. These names follow Colourful Theme Naming - each is coloured the same as their name.
    • Spikes, as mentioned below. Lots and lots of spikes...
    • The constant up-and-down Gravity Screw-ing.
    • The triangle-wave filled soundtrack.
    • When the characters are upside down, their legs look like Vs. Just check out the PPPPPP album cover.
  • 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.
  • Mini-Game: The Super Graviton, a harder version of the Graviton segment during the main game, where you are timed for how long you can dodge obstacles while bouncing between gravity-flipping lines.
  • Nintendo Hard: Despite frequent checkpoints, there is nothing unusual about dying hundreds (if not thousands) of times before completing the game.
  • Notice This: During your climb in the Tower, at one point you'll be stuck on a ledge wondering when the next safe footing to flip to will appear; a large arrow shape in the background will help show you where (but you won't make it without a leap of faith).
  • 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 (yes, the word "lies") ... apparently these are the products of Terry Cavanagh's dream diary.
  • Portal Network: There are teleporters practically everywhere across the map. After returning to your ship the first time, your only hint about where to go is to have the teleporters marked on your map.
  • Plot Coupon: You need to rescue your crew members. And if you want 100% Completion, you'd better pick up those Shiny Trinkets while you're at it.
  • 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 80s 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.
  • Sound Test: The "Jukebox" is located inside your ship; collect shiny trinkets to unlock new songs. The only song not present in the lineup is the remixed version of "Predestined Fate" used in the final level.
  • Speed Run: The time trials.
  • Spikes Of Doom: The whole game, as the game title suggests, is filled with thousands of spikesnote . Really.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: "The Warning", a room filled with checkpoints lined up on a conveyor belt (so it sounds like an alarm when you run through them). It comes directly before Veni Vidi Vici.
  • 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: They crumble and vanish the moment you land on them, giving you footing for only about a second or so.
  • Time Trial: Six available, based on the colored sections and the final level.
  • 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 Re-release: 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: Only shown in a fan video 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.
  • Visual Pun: The title.
  • Wrap Around:
    • Utilized in a variety of rooms, particularly the green maze containing Verdigris where every room wraps around on all sides (save for the exit to the next room). 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!

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