Watch on YouTube VVVVVV is a pixel-art platformer with one key difference from most: instead of jumping, the character flips gravity. As you explore a now-derelict space station, attempting to find your crew members -- scattered by a teleporter accident in an emergency evacuation -- you explore more and more difficult puzzles, twisting your brain around as you try to make it across a series of gaps and platforms while avoiding spikes.

Each puzzle room is separately named, meaning that the game primarily takes place as a collection of 100 or so individual puzzles (with continue posts conveniently placed). The puzzles include standard jumping requirements, but also more complex cases where you must flip from the floor to the ceiling to avoid moving obstacles, or manage timing to avoid spikes. As you progress into the game, you also encounter gravity-changing beams, which change the direction of gravity without action from the player, meaning that they simulate more traditional jumping mechanics.

The story behind the game was a bit weak, but as someone who loves puzzling his way thorugh an excellent platformer, the gameplay more than made up for it. With the relatively large number of individual puzzles, I felt like I was constantly making progress through the levels. (In the end, I learned that I had died 1026 times over the 2 hours, 20 minutes of gameplay... with my single worst room involving 108 deaths.)

For the completionist, there are 50 collectables spread around the world, ready to be picked up. These apparently unlock different songs for the game, though I'll admit that I didn't bother to collect them; the default music that played throughout had a great retro feel, and was quite reasonable for my purposes.

Like Portal, VVVVVV makes you think differently, especially in the final stages, as the stages begin to wrap around the edges of the screen; you need to think about the room in at least two different orientations, and sometimes more. Some puzzles will twist your head as you puzzle through them, but with each puzzle being relatively short, there's not too much problem from that. Since deaths are relatively low cost, you end up dying a lot... but it doens't feel painful or punishing.

Overall, VVVVVV is a fun, quick platformer. It was well worth the $5 I paid on Steam. If you dig jumping platformers, this is a nice twist on the genre that will still make you feel right at home.