Review by Adenosine
"A Game of Wits Behind the All Action Front"
The "Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures" is a 2D sidescrolling platformer game based on the hit web show called Angry Video Game Nerd by James Rolfe, who gained fame as a reviewer of "shi++y games that suck ass". In this game, the Nerd and his pals get sucked into a video game due to mysterious reasons and they have to finish it to get back to reality.
You first start the game with only the Nerd as the playable character, but exploring different levels (and going out of your way) often leads you to the discovery of other characters from the show. Each character has his own strengths and weaknesses. The Nerd (James Rolfe) is the default "for all situations" character. He can shoot his Nintendo zapper in every direction and jump decently high. The skeleton guy (Kyle Justin) uses a guitar that shoots out music waves that can pass through solid objects and hit things behind them. He also runs pretty fast. Mike Mattei has some kind of x-ray vision that can reveal secret passages to get you out of extremely hard situations but only has a lightsaber. Lastly there is Shi+ Man or whatever he's called, a man made of poo who shoots out poo and can perform a double jump.
The gameplay has a very simple idea but it's extremely addictive. The levels are designed to be very difficult and you will have to be patient while still having quick reflexes. Having just a quick trigger (or presser) finger will not be enough. There are even some levels where you will have to rely on your memorization skills in order to properly time your jumps on vanishing platforms. In one of the most challenging levels, you'll have to combine lightning quick reflexes, memorization, and quick trigger finger to overcome a "snake platform" where instant kill blocks will just show up in front of you that you have to jump over while trying to not fall off your moving platform.
It is not uncommon to die multiple times just trying to get from one part of a stage to another. A pc compatible controller is recommended but you can also play using the keyboard, although it's more challenging that way. Fortunately, there is a very good checkpoint system for almost every section of a stage so you won't end up frustrated.
Each level has a theme based on popular video games, and the enemies you find in them also follow whatever the theme of the level is. There's one modeled after Castlevania where you fight ghosts and of course there's another made with the Mario games in mind where you have to jump a lot. There's even a level that makes fun of old "adult oriented" Atari games like "Beat Em and Eat Em", complete with boobies that you use to bounce to safety and evil male organs that bust out from the ground in all their pixelated glory! You can play through these levels as the Nerd, but finding his friends will enable you to switch to them anytime to utilize their special abilities which can make the level easier to complete.
Throughout the levels you'll find a couple of special attack icons. There's one called SuperMechaChrist which sends a robo Jesus-Tank machine destroying every bad guy in view. There's also a Glitch Goblin attack that stops time in order to help you get past tough areas. You can get a Super Scope (the SNES bazooka) which destroys most enemies with just one shot, but the moment you get hit, you lose it and you use your old zapper again. Each special attack item are thoughtfully placed in levels during moments when you might need them.
Speaking of items, you can also grab beer bottles to replenish your health or a Nerd icon to get an extra life. Beware that just because these health and extra lives are there for the taking doesn't mean it is worth your while. Often times these things are surrounded by traps and are just there to tempt you into trying to take them, only to get you killed. You really have to be observant of the environment before you try to snatch one of these things.
At the end of each level is a boss battle. Following traditional old school design, the closer a boss comes to death, the faster it becomes and the more varied its attacks get.
The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is not your typcal platformer game despite its appearance. It's a game that promotes quick thinking, good decision making, and fast reflexes. You can't just run and gun your way through a level. You will have to observe patterns, figure out the right time to cross one trap in order to not get caught by another, and you even have to view your health (represented by beer bottles) not as something to protect all the time, but as tools where you plan when to get hit to gain a split second advantage with the short invulnerability time to get past traps or tough sections.
Personally, I died 300+ times in easy mode just to finish the game, yet I never found it frustrating. The checkpoint system made death easier to accept because at least you won't have to go through everything again just to make a little progress. Of course, there are higher difficulty settings where you only have limited lives and continues.
This is a very challenging game that manages to avoid making the players feel bad. You'll actually enjoy dying because there's a sense of "I can solve it next time" going through your mind. Although it might seem like a very fast paced game, it actually requires the patience of a monk, the ability to not panic despite everything what's going on in the screen, and quick wit in order to figure out the solution to each seemingly impossible situation. Dismantling and overcoming the challenges of this game definitely gives a satisfying sense of great success! This game has an extremely high replay value and I recommend it to everyone!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/01/13
Game Release: Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures (US, 09/20/13)
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