Tech News on G4
3DS games a platform for greatness
Mar 7, 2012
By Daniel Barron - G4 Canada
Never judge a book by its cover, and never judge a game by its graphics. VVVVVV (pronounced "The Letter V, Six Times") proves this is a mantra to pay strict attention to.
The platformer, which first appeared on computers in 2010, has the crudest of graphics and the cutest of tiny block characters. As charming as VVVVVV looks though, it's a game that is sure to make even the most passive, Zen-like gamer turn into a raging bull with its extreme degree of difficulty.
In VVVVVV, you play as Captain Viridian, a space-faring character who is tasked with rescuing five crew members who are lost in a strange alternate dimension.
The controls are as basic as they come. Players move left or right with the D-pad, and can change gravity whenever Viridian is touching a surface by pressing the A-button. As simple as it sounds, VVVVVV does some really cool things to keep the game from growing stale over the course of its (relatively short) main campaign.
As Viridian searches for his missing crew members, he'll have to avoid all manner of enemies, spikes and other objects that will cause instant death if touched. Anyone who has played "Super Meat Boy" will soon understand how important pinpoint timing and precision movements are to completing your quest.
A map of the entire world sits on the 3DS' bottom screen, and it provides a way of knowing where you need to go to find new crew members. Sections of the map are not only split up by colour, but areas not yet traversed show up as a blank section. If you're ever stuck, you'll soon learn that it's always best to visit those undiscovered locales first.
Besides running over or under deadly objects, other sections involve everything from escorting characters safely (meaning you control both of them at the same time) to surviving in a digital version of a balloon castle where items are coming from all directions, and where you never stop bouncing off the floor and ceiling.
As insanely difficult as some levels can be, success is always close, so even if you die dozens or hundreds of times (and believe me, you will), you'll know victory can be had.
Keep in mind there are a ton of checkpoints found throughout the map, so you'll never be stuck backtracking up to the same trap over and over again. Once you've bested a tricky area, you're almost always rewarded with a check point directly afterward.
For gamers that want something that really shows off the system's 3D abilities, VVVVVV isn't for you. The 3D effects in the game are barely noticeable, and actually take away from the old-school charm.
Oh, and as for the music ... without hyperbole, VVVVVV contains one of the best game soundtracks (simply titled "PPPPPP") from the last decade. The chiptune songs by SoulEye are absolutely awesome, and would fit perfectly as you battle through one of Dr. Wily's castles in a Mega Man game from the NES era.
Some gamers may be disappointed by how short VVVVVV's campaign is, but beyond that, there are still several user levels, challenges, and more. And anyone who finishes the game on No Death Mode deserves a Nobel Prize for videogames.
If you're into games from the Atari or Commodore 64 era, complete with a crazy degree of difficulty, seek VVVVVV out.
Rating: 9 / 10
Mighty Switch Force!
WayForward, developer of countless handheld games over the last several years, brings out the latest game in its "Mighty" series, Might Switch Force!
MSF is a puzzle/platformer that mixes in small doses of action to make a hybrid game that does a lot of things right.
The plot for MSF is barely even touched upon in the game, but the website tells us that you control Patricia Wagon, who is a cybernetic peacekeeper tasked with finding and arresting "Space Hooligans" that are hiding throughout each of the game's 16 levels.
Wagon does the usual jumping and shooting as she runs right and left through each level, but she also has the ability to alter the world by bringing background objects into view, and vice versa.
For instance, a bridge may be broken up into several pieces, with some pieces floating in the background, making it impossible to jump from one platform to the next. In order to proceed, the player will have to jump from one platform and press a button in midair, causing the adjacent platform to come into the foreground, resulting in a safe landing.
This is just one basic example that WayForward throws at the player early in the game. Later levels are wickedly difficult, and it all culminates in a final stage that has you climbing as the stage moves vertically nonstop, so you have to continually move while thinking on the fly.
Although the player is never given a time limit and can take as long as they'd like to complete a level, the true challenge involves beating the par time given for each stage. For completionists, this is what will give the game some real longevity. The 16 levels won't take all that long to complete, but perfecting each one so you can stay under the par time is sure to take most gamers multiple tries.
Still, beyond the 16 stages, there isn't much more to the game besides opening up a more powerful weapon that makes reaching the par times a little easier.
MSF keeps the puzzle aspect of the "Mighty" series very much intact, while adding a slightly more action-oriented twist. Here's hoping we'll see a meatier sequel in the future, as a game as solid as this deserves it.
Mighty Switch Force!
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