Are you looking for a game that will challenge you? No? How about a game that will frustrate you? Still not interested? How about a game that will, at times, make you wish you could snap your iPhone in half, cover it in gasoline, melt it into a puddle, then scoop up the remains and throw it into a river? Aha! Well then, VVVVVV is exactly what you've been waiting for.
VVVVVV is an indie platform title that was originally released for PC way back in 2010. It quickly gained a reputation for being sadistically difficult thanks to its gravity-switching mechanic and wealth of murderous spikes that litter the game world. Simply navigating from one side of the screen to the other can be a serious challenge, and that's with the physical buttons of a keyboard at your disposal. You can imagine the challenge when you add a touchscreen to the mix.
You play as Captain Viridian, a static stick-figure-like character that slides across the screen in search of his spaceship crew after a horrible accident that has landed him in an alternate dimension. As Viridian, you'll navigate a massive, confusing world filled with traps, disappearing platforms, and huge open voids.
Instead of jumping, you have the ability to reverse gravity, causing your character to fly upwards and land on whatever happens to be above you. Oftentimes you'll land on spikes that you didn't see coming, but luckily you're given the ability to restart at various checkpoints indefinitely. You might think that endless lives makes the game a bit easier, but you'd be wrong.
The controls of the iOS version are a bit more sketchy than that of its PC counterparts. Your movement is dependent on sliding your finger left or right, which can often lead to overshooting your destination and, as usual, dying on a bed of spikes.
But as frustrating as it is, the journey to find your missing friends is still a blast, and the Commodore 64-inspired graphics look great on the iPhone and iPad. The retro soundtrack, humorous text dialogue, and instant respawns after your death make the game extremely addictive, and although you may have an urge to destroy your device from time to time, besting a difficult sequence offers a feeling of accomplishment that few games can match.
The game is US$2.99, and you'll get more than your money's worth out of the lengthy adventure. Simply put, it's a brutal, sinister, unforgiving game that still somehow finds a way to make you smile.