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Portabliss: VVVVVV (3DS eShop)


Did you know that you can download handheld games now? That's amazingly convenient! The only inconvenient part of it is finding the right games to buy -- and that's where we come in, with our Portabliss column. In each installment, we'll tell you about a downloadable game on the iPhone, iPad, Android device, DSi, 3DS, PSP, etc. Today: VVVVVV.

VVVVVV for 3DS is the best version of Terry Cavanagh's insanely difficult platform game I've ever played. But that's only because I don't have a good controller for my computer.

As far as I can tell, the 3DS version is identical to the PC release in almost every way: the same C64-style graphics, featuring monochrome smiley-face people against (optional) flashing geometric backgrounds; the same fully explorable world of vast expanses of space, impossible mazes, and so many spikes; the same brilliant chiptune soundtrack.

The differences include, on the downside, the lack of a level editor (though Nicalis has said it is considering adding that), and, on the upside, 3D. Other than that, it's the familiar gauntlet of physically impossible rooms that you really should have played already. Though the specifics of the nostalgia element elude me (not being a C64 person), the style of gameplay is absolutely perfect for me: a series of self-contained platforming challenges that require both dexterity and forethought. Oh, and lots and lots of patience with repeated failure.

Though the level editor isn't present, a selection of user-created levels is included in the download, including the giant "Dimension 333333" by Sendy and a level by Minecraft creator Notch. So when you get through the main game, and collect all 20 of the "trinkets," then you won't have to use those wizard powers you apparently have to generate new content.

VVVVVV is available for $7.99 on the 3DS eShop. We're always looking for new distractions. Want to submit your game for Portabliss consideration? You can reach us at portabliss aat joystiq dawt com.

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