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Pains in Eletronic Super Joy

Electronic Super Joy Screenshot

By: Adlai Rosh Samaniego

Warning! This game contains content that may not be safe for all audiences, including flashing strobe lights, swearing, blasphemy, and butts. Player discretion is advised.

Rarely do you find an indie game with so much energy bursting from its seams. Electronic Super Joy places you in control of The Wanderer, on a quest to overthrow an empire ruled by the evil Groove-Wizard. The game has an insane plot – but the strange story isn’t the only thing that’s going to give you a headache.

The controls follow the standard platforming controls – move, jump, attack. The simplicity helps the game a lot – adding unnecessary control schemes to an already hard game would be an absolute nightmare. (For those of us who don’t like using keyboard controls, the game features controller support.) Many of Electronic Super Joy’s challenges come from its gimmicks; early on, you face slow-moving missiles that can be destroyed with your bash attack. Later on, they’re reintroduced en-masse on a slowly-moving stage – touching the edges of the screen means instant death, so no quick advancement for you. Then later still, the missiles are faster, the ground disappears when you step on it, and you no longer have your bash attack.

The game is also extremely hard. Death is a common experience in this game. Thankfully, you have an infinite number of lives – which is good, because you will die a lot. One of the game’s main selling point is its difficulty. Much of the game is spent dying because of a mistake made – the level design is clear enough to be fair, and rarely do you die because of something stupid.

Electronic Super Joy is unique in that it doesn’t stick to a particular gaming formula for too long. One level could be a long, vertical climb up sticky walls. Another could have you running away from a giant monster. The game does an excellent job of beating your expectations to a bloody, neon-colored pulp. Game mechanics are discarded as quickly as they were introduced, then brought back for an encore of pain. There even exists an “Infinite Love” mode, where you traverse shorter versions of the game’s stages and try to get the highest score before dying.

The game has retro 16-bit graphics, with every character and stage being a black silhouette. Bits and pieces of the stage could shift, form, or fall away at a moment’s notice. The background pulses to the beat of the soundtrack, contrasting heavily and beautifully against the black stages. The game’s specific color scheme makes it clear what terrain you can and can’t interact with.

There are about 8 unique backgrounds, both beautiful and non-obstructive; you’ll barely notice them during more intense segments. Important things are given graphical precedence. Deadly missiles have a rather visible white trail following them, sticky walls have white goo on them, and both the player character and enemies have some bit of white to highlight them against the black of the rest of the stage.

The game’s soundtrack is heavily techno. The music is great in the fact that it almost never gets repetitive. Even as you’re attempting the same stage for the 20th time, you rarely stop to mute the game. Almost every action is punctuated by a sound, butt-slamming adding a nice kick to the beat, and activating checkpoints is highlighted by a rather sensual “Oh Yeah!” in both male and female flavors.

If you enjoy dubstep or electronic music and hardcore platforming, this game is for you. The relatively low system requirements ensure that a lot of people can play this game with little to no lag – that is, if you can handle the flashing lights and insane difficulty.

Electronic Super Joy is available on Steam for $7.99 USD. Find out more at http://www.electronicsuperjoy.com/