Critical Hit: Electronic Super Joy
Quick Breakdown: An indie platformer with simple mechanics and an interesting soundtrack.
Length: 3-4 hours (Main game)
Available On: PC
Full Review: Electronic Super Joy (ESJ) is a platformer, distinctly of the indie variety. It has the simple pixel graphics, combined with trippy, colourful imagery, a notable soundtrack, and a sense of humour. I loaded up the game and was greeted with the following message:
Sounds like my kind of game.
Sadly, the game doesn’t manage to quite live up to that entire promise. At least, it doesn’t deliver as well as I’d hoped. You play as a character that’s had his butt stolen, and you set out to reclaim it. It’s silly, lighthearted, and amusing. The game has a silly streak, and there are these simple characters that say simple, and funny things. They’re entertaining and have their charm.
Definitely my kind of game.
Let’s get to the gameplay itself. I’ve often seen it described as the unholy combination of Super Meat Boy and Super Hexagon. However, I don’t think that’s too accurate. Meat Boy features some fairly different platforming mechanics; they bear similarities in that they are both indie platformers noted for their soundtracks and difficulty. ESJ’s similarities to Hexagon include its colourful backgrounds, and its notability for its difficulty and its soundtrack, though they feature radically different gameplay. However, ESJ’s gameplay and soundtrack isn’t nearly as strong as SMB. ESJ’s music isn’t quite as strong as Hexagon, but it features a wider selection of tunes. ESJ also isn’t nearly as difficult as either of those two games.
Now, comparisons out of the way, let’s talk about the game itself a bit more. The gameplay mechanics aren’t anything too fancy. You run and jump and have a stomp attack that can be performed from mid-air that will instantly bring you straight down to the ground. At one point in the game you’ll trade your stomp for a double jump ability for a few levels, and at another you’ll have no powers at all for a few levels. Sadly, the double jump is only utilized in a scant few levels, which is a shame since it was put to good use in some of the stronger platforming segments of the game. A few levels feature lower gravity than normal. Some of the later levels of the game feature a flying mechanic, though it wasn’t as much fun as the normal platforming, and I didn’t entirely figure out how it worked.
And sometimes the world rotates.
Part of the problem with the game is that mechanics are sometimes introduced and removed randomly, and they aren’t always well explained. A bigger problem though is that, while the game is fun, the mechanics aren’t particularly noteworthy either.
Apparently the pope is weak to the power of gay rainbows.
The game is often regarded as rather difficult, but it doesn’t quite live up to that either. While I wouldn’t call it an easy game, and there are some difficult segments, it doesn’t have the same level of difficulty as many of the other games placed in the super difficult category (like the aforementioned Super Meat Boy for example). Overall, I’d rank the difficulty as slightly above average for the genre.
This game features so many missiles. God, just all the fucking missiles.
The game features an electronic soundtrack, and while it’s not my favourite game soundtrack around, there are some catchy tunes. It’s a bit uneven in quality, as a few of them I found rather uninteresting, but there’re more good tracks than boring ones.
The main game will last about 3-4 hours, and I played through it in a single session when I was having a sick day and didn’t feel like playing a game that required me to use more than two buttons and directional buttons. (I opted to use a controller, but I don’t think it would be much different on a keyboard). I haven’t bothered to play the bonus content, as I wasn’t particularly enthralled with the game, (though I may go back and do it someday), so I can’t comment how long the game will last if you play through that.
In the end, Electronic Super Joy isn’t a must-have game, but it’s still a fun few hours. If you’re a fan of platformers, especially of the indie flavor, then give this game a chance when it goes on sale on Steam.
Just a tiny problem.
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