Linux Gaming Corner now boasts the all new Linux Gaming Corner. A Section of the site dedicated to gamers and gaming on the Linux platform. I’ll be adding views and reviews as well as tips and advice on how to get games running under Linux.

So, to kick things off, a quick review on one of my favourite indie games – VVVVVV.

VVVVVV is a charmingly retro 2D platform/puzzle game from award-winning independent game designer Terry Cavanagh

In the game, the player assumes the role of Captain Viridian who must search and rescue the lost crew of her ship after becoming stranded in an alternate dimension. In VVVVVV the player is not able to jump, and the player must flip gravity to fall up/down the screen in order to overcome obstacles.

The gravity flipping control mechanism which forms the core concept of the game becomes second nature after a short period.

You will die a lot playing this game (My completed game file has a death count of over 1000). The game allows for this by providing very frequent checkpoints (re-spawn points) and instant re-spawn upon dieing – (no last life or game-over). The death/re-spawn cycle allows you the practice needed to perfect the required twitch gaming reflexes needed in some of the games more fiendish sections

But, contrary to what you might think, In VVVVVV dieing repeatedly does not frustrate or infuriate. You feel as though you learned something from each death, or it got you one step closer to overcoming the challenge and reaching that next checkpoint. And when you do progress and reach that next checkpoint, the sense of achievement is extremely satisfying (for a game! :-))

Game play takes place in a free roaming map, that can be retraced, similar to Super Metroid. This allows the player the freedom to take their own approach- Undoubtedly, very few players would play through the game in the exact same order, as there are so many routes from A to B.

Getting around is aided by conveniently placed teleporters which will allow fast travel from one to any other. Which adds nicely to replay value – allowing players to quickly travel to unobtained trinkets or unexplored areas of the map.

Graphically, The game is heavily inspired by the 8-bit era, and is therefore duly simplistic. but the graphics are clear, concise and have charm, which is very appropriate for a game of this nature, and goes some way to proving that gameplay is what matters.

The music in VVVVVV, scored by Magnus PĂ„lsson is fantastic. Again has a very retro feel, consisting entirely of chiptune, it sets the pace for the game very nicely, from slower exploration stages to high energy fast paced sections. Truthfully, I fire up VVVVVV and run it in the background just so I can listen to the music while working on my computer – that is how much I love the it!

In terms of longevity, the game can be completed in < 3hrs, however uncovering every last piece of the map will take longer, as will collecting all the trinkets (collectibles which reward the player with a jukebox facility on the ship), some of which are fiendishly hard to get.

In all a hugely enjoyable, quirky game that will have you hooked almost instantly.
If you can look past the old school look and feel of the game, an absolute gem is waiting to be discovered underneath, and with its low system requirements, will run on almost any computer.

Getting it running on Linux

Originally written in Flash, VVVVVV was ported to C++ and Linux binaries made officially available in both 32 and 64bit.

Running the game is simply a matter of extracting the archive and executing the script VVVVVV. Type ./VVVVVV at a terminal from that directory.