Rage against the EDM machine.
First appearing on the Wii U and other platforms in 2015, Electronic Super Joy is a tough-as-nails platformer (yes, we know there are plenty on the eShop) that hosts something a little different: a thumping EDM soundtrack and a game packed full of dizzying visuals. Controlling your small hero, you’re put to the hard task of clearing around 80 levels while battling some truly rigorous stage designs.
This isn’t for the faint-hearted, or faint-stomached, for that matter. The game does everything it can to throw you off and to ultimately rack up your death count; you’ll be dying a ton but the sense of achievement after retrying a level 40 or so times is satisfying. Starting off relatively vanilla, with a simple press of A to jump and then the introduction of B to slam your character down, the learning curve becomes steeper quickly. Not that that’s a turn-off, though.
Sticky walls to slide down and jump from and floating stars that act as trampolines all make this painfully simple game a real challenge. The addition of homing missiles early on makes for some frustrating moments, though. Controls are tight and checkpoints are, in most cases, aplenty so you’re never too far away from being able to tap X and zap straight back to the last flag you crossed. This is especially useful if you’ve accidentally squashed an enemy that you needed to use to grab up to a platform or reach an adjacent ledge.
Electronic Super Joy warns players each time you fire up the game that it could cause seizures. Now, I’m not sure if it’s tongue-in-cheek or a genuine warning, but it’s safe to say that those who struggle with flashing images or crazy graphics may want to steer clear of this one. One level had me jumping frantically upwards while sweeping black and white shapes filled the screen; along with the thumping 180 BPM soundtrack, I was glad to be done with it. I actually had to stop and pause the game a few times as I felt nauseous.
That’s not to say this title looks bad, far from it. It’s straightforward in its visual design with flat pixel art and unimaginative backgrounds, but it does do a grand job of showing off its hardcore platforming arrangements. Coupled with quick but funny lines of text here and there, it’s easy to warm to. Especially with the boss fights that are split between multiple levels, you’re never doing the same thing in a row. You’ll be flying a ship while shooting your enemy; then you’ll warp to a vertical, moving level that sees you racing up toward the goal.
Akin to Super Meat Boy and Celeste, Electronic Super Joy boasts a crazy amount of levels to get through, around 80 in this case. That’s all thanks to all DLC being included in the price. The bulk of the game is spread over four worlds with a boss belonging to each, but taking into account the additional Micro-Hell and Hot Sticky Mess DLC packs, there’s a great deal of content here.
Fans of difficult 2D platformers who aren’t afraid of a challenge or ridiculous, hypnotic visuals will lap this up, but those looking for a calm experience and a story that makes even a little bit of sense will want to try something else. Equally, if fine-tuning your platforming skills has been on your mind then dive right in.
Electronic Super Joy £12.99
Packing in all the DLC content, Electronic Super Joy has a ton to offer gamers who don’t shy away from challenging platformers. Boasting a loud and fast-paced soundtrack, dizzying visuals, and fine-tuned gameplay, this title still stands tall four years on.