Whether you follow the indie gaming scene or not, it's likely you've heard the name Terry Cavanagh before. The Irish developer has caused a storm in the last couple of years with indie games packed full of innovation. He's even featured in the Forbes Entertainment 30 Under 30 list.
His best-known title VVVVVV, originally released for PC in 2010, has now gone all miniature on the Nintendo 3DS eShop. This is great news all round - it will hopefully coax more big-name developers into the eShop, and it'll also work to bring the very best in indie gaming to a larger audience.
As for the audience itself, 3DS gamers are in for a treat. The new stereoscopic visuals don't add much to the original formula, but VVVVVV is still as playable as it ever was, and the handheld controls fit perfectly with the gameplay.
You play as Viridian, who has lost all his friends in the VVVVVV dimension. By flipping upside down and walking on ceilings, you can navigate seemingly impossible terrain and scale every corner of this twisted world, dodging spikes and enemies as you go.
You're presented with an overmap on the bottom screen, which you use to find several separate dungeons that you need to tackle. Each dungeon comes with its own special rulebook that complements the main flipping technique, making each separate area feel like an entirely different challenge.
Sometimes, you'll be using the edges of the screen to wrap around and solve puzzles, while at others the screen will scroll upwards, with spikes constantly threatening to catch you at the bottom. It's enthralling stuff throughout, with no filler.
It also gets incredibly difficult, with deaths astonishingly frquent. However, it never becomes too frustrating, as your character will simple flash for a second and then reappear at the start of the current room, making the action fast-paced and action-packed.
A deeper shade of Viridian
The original release on PC was criticised for being rather short, with only two hours of gameplay and little replay value. Fortunately, that isn't the case here, as a whole host of special levels and worlds from big-name indie developers have been added.
The majority of these new levels aren't as good as the original batch, but it's still very exciting to have even more levels to play, and overall the playing time is bumped up to around five hours.
The new 3DS version also comes with the obligatory stereoscopic 3D visuals, but unfortunately these feel very forced and don't add anything to the main game. We found ourselves turning the slider down pretty quickly.
It's also a shame that the game isn't in widescreen to fit the 3DS top screen, but we can forgive this for the gorgeously retro looks. The soundtrack fits the visuals perfectly, with some fantastic chiptunes that make price of admission to the game worth it alone.
If you haven't played VVVVVV before, this is absolutely an essential purchase. If you have already played it, you'll no doubt want to grab it again.
If Nintendo continues to allow such wonderful indie releases into the eShop, the future looks very bright indeed for the digital store.