If you like super hard 2-D platformers, then you’ll jump for joy for this new downloadable PC game. I had Leroy, a good friend of mine; review Electronic Super Joy for me since he was a better fit for this kind of game than I was. So click and read on for his take on this one.
Electronic Super Joy is a “brutally hard platformer” developed by Michael Todd Games and is available on Steam (or directly from the developer at http://www.electronicsuperjoy.com/) for $7.99.
The overly difficult platformer is a concept that seems to be fairly popular among independent developers. When executed properly, it’s can be a beautiful thing. But under less considerate design, a game can end up being more irritating than actually challenging. Having some experience with games on both ends of the spectrum, I can say that Electronic Super Joy places itself snugly near the higher end. It doesn’t quite reach the pinnacles of some of its peers, but it should be a nice companion piece to players that have completed other titles or as a starting point for someone looking to get into the genre.
The game has pretty standard platforming controls, you will run, jump and dodge through bite-sized micro levels. You will have a stomp attack on some levels that can dispose of enemies and a double-jump on some of the other levels for added maneuverability. The controls are tight and responsive, which is obviously important for a game like this.
There are about forty levels with each level being about a minute or two in length. Of course, you will die a lot and it will take much longer for the most part depending on your skill level. It took me personally about three hours to complete everything before the four bonus levels. I did not find completing the game to be as brutally hard as the game claims itself to be, but it could be experience with similar games. Where I felt a better challenge came from was chasing some of the game’s achievements, such as beating all of the levels within par time or completing certain levels under specific circumstances. The achievements can add a new layer to the game if you feel like doing a little more than simply completing the game’s levels once.
The plot for the game revolves around the theft of the world’s butts. It’s appropriately nonsensical considering that a strong narrative is never a driving force for this type of game and the story (if you can call it that) is told through a few lines of text at the start and end of the game.
The game has a fantastic visual style, using bright, deep single color schemes behind stark black foregrounds and characters. There are also a lot of stars and lights flashing and rotating and pulsating to the fantastic electronic dance music, giving the player the feel of being in a European night club. The sights and sounds mesh together quite well, in my opinion, which may be slightly biased as a very long time fan of dance music.
Overall I found the game to be enjoyable although it doesn’t really set itself apart too much from its peers outside of the dance club motif and it could be worth noting that similar games tend to offer far more levels. The challenge is decent without being overbearing, although there are a few places with require unforgiving “pixel perfect” jumps which can be frustrating.
I did have a few settings nitpicks. The game opens with a launcher applet every time you start it asking for resolution options, but never bothers remembering your selection; you will need to reset your resolution and full screen setting every time you want to play. Also, the game also does not have a controller deadzone setting and the default is probably zero as my character would often zoom off into a direction without any input from me or refuse to stop when my input ended. Granted, I would definitely suggest using a good dpad for the game, but I think developers should at least consider testing a few different devices (and that the Xbox 360 pad is a common controller for PC gamers).
Upon launching Electronic Super Joy, you are bombarded with a giant list of warnings of all the awful things the game contains. Despite that, the game only contains a few swear words and some suggestive vocal effects that are played when restarting a level from a checkpoint. Both of these can be turned off in the options menu through a “PG Mode” setting. –Leroy Capasso