The challenging platformer is seemingly making a comeback, between games like Super Meat Boy and 1001 Spikes, games so frustratingly hard, you’d think they were the Dark Souls of a previous generation. Yet we strive on to beat them because, well, we’re gamers, duh.
Enter Electronic Super Joy, which originally released on PC a couple of years ago and has finally made its way to consoles, namely the Xbox One. In this ridiculously over-the-top adventure, you guide a simpleton through a series of colorful black-and-white stages (yes, they can be both, check the screenshots) as you overcome all odds to defeat enemies with certain goals. For instance, there’s a wizard that likes nothing more than stealing your butt. I’m serious. GIVE ME BACK MY BUTT.
Anyway, the goal of the game is to get your way from point A to point B, although that’s not always easy, as the checkpoints can take a while to get to. That’s because a lot of obstacles will stop at nothing to get in your way and destroy you, from lasers to homing missiles to other diabolical challenges.
Let’s be honest, it will take you a while to get through the 50-something stages in the game, and even if you make it that far, nothing can prepare you for the heinous Micro-Hell stages that follow, which will challenge your very instincts – as well as your cursing limits. You have been warned.
This game is NOT for the meek. Electronic Super Joy will chew up and spit out rookie players for lunch. However, for those of you that are used to challenges like this (and conquered Super Meat Boy like a bad-ass), you’ll find that the controls are very responsive, so that you have no one to blame but yourself if you screw up too often. You WILL make mistakes, so you might as well just get used to the idea.
Meanwhile, the visuals, representing the interesting description I provided above, are neat, running from an 8-bit perspective but featuring a lot of psychedelic décor that you normally don’t see in a game such as this. It can be a disadvantage, though, especially when you’re trying to comprehend certain platforms. Proceed with caution.
I enjoy the music, though. It’s programmed with a techno sort of vibe, and would be right at home in any given dance club. It fits the material at hand, though, making you feel as if there’s an “end of the world” party going on – and you’re the guest of honor. Sound effects are few and far between, but the bizarre checkpoint noises (“OH YEAH!”) add to the party atmosphere in their weird sort of way.
Just make sure you know what you’re getting into with Electronic Super Joy. It’s a great game, but not for everyone, especially those that freak out over flashing lights, or get into a controller-breaking frenzy when you keep dying over and over again. It’s a title that requires patience and persistence – but pays it off in spades.