Speed runs and single-life modes are there for those who can face them, but for most people, VVVVVV will be a game to be tentatively prodded through with all the help available. Even so, it would be wrong to let the sheer fiendishness of Cavanagh's offering overwhelm any appreciation of the ceaseless elegance of the design.
In fact, the difficulty and the creative ingenuity work in tandem: the promise of the next piece of cleverness driving you past some of the less lovable challenges, while that challenge itself makes you appreciate the precision and quiet brilliance with which the whole thing has been pieced together. Brutal and rather short, VVVVVV's also devious and darkly funny. It's a pedantic classic, and a game for watch-makers as much as speed-runners.