Electronic Super Joy. What a fantastic name that this. Genuinely. It’s a name that instantly makes you a tad more cheerful just thinking about it. It doesn’t really sound like the name of a computer though, it’s more like the name of a Daft Punk album. That’s great though because that sort of imagery invokes much of the nature of Electronic Super Joy.
Electronic Super Joy is challenging 2D platform game where failure is the norm. Think of it as VVVVV with heart thumping electronic music and contrastingly bright visuals, only even more difficult.
The game is set in a nonsensical world where there have been brutal disco wars. The main character is out to get his revenge after losing his arse to DJ Mad Skillz… or something.
The music plays a massive part in the experience and does not shy away here. It’s brash, in your face, almost bordering of obnoxious but it suits the game so much. This is emphasized by the bold artstyle with the silhouetted foreground against bright oranges and pinks of the background that reacts to beats of the heavy music.
You make your way through minimalistic levels that vary in length. One thing they do have in common however is that checkpoints are littered around each level, and you’re going to need them. Each level is filled with seemingly endless ways to kill you.
You get different abilities at certain points. At first you’re allowed to use a smash attack. This lets you destroy enemies or missiles, but it only works if you are mid-jump, it will send your little guy crashing into whatever is below. Later in the game the smash attack is replaced with a double jump to help you reach higher platforms. Closer to the end you even get the ability to fly, Flappy Bird style. These abilities are given and taken on a whim. Personally I would have liked it if you had these abilities throughout the game, together. But then that would make the game a little easier, and the devs wouldn’t want that now, would they?
I was close to admitting defeat in all honesty. Electronic Super Joy almost broke me. I’ve played a fair few difficult games in my time, and Electronic Super Joy is close to the top. It’s pixel precision platforming that punishes imperfection. It’s an exercise in patience and endurance. How many times can you fail at the same thing before cracking?
I tend to enjoy difficult platformers as long as they are fair, where I feel if I failed, it was my fault. Sometimes that’s the case with Electronic Super Joy, but many times it isn’t. There were many stages where I tried over and over and over again, only to continually fail. You know the feeling. Where you play so much you gradually get worse, not even being able to get to the same place as you could before. I needed to turn the game off for an hour or two just to regain my composure.
This has its upside though, the exhilaration of that triumphant victory when you finally conquer the unconquerable. I was having serious trouble with one of the earlier levels when you’re trying to catch the pope in his spaceship (yes, you did read that). It’s a vertical scrolling level where you must outpace the screen that’s creeping up on you. I died so many times. I genuinely thought it was impossible. But that one moment when all the planets aligned and the wind blew my way, I beat it. I jumped off my sofa screaming “YES!!”. What a moment. And then I instantly got stuck on the next part again. It’s like finally opening the door to a safe, just to find there’s another door behind it.
Aside from the pixel perfect platforming, I found difficulty to come from some rather unnecessary homing missiles that are fired your way. They can be destroyed with your smash attack, but since they are homing, it’s pretty difficult to get them underneath you. Dealing with them while also trying to do precision platforming, avoid other enemies and trying to scamper away from the incoming doom of the scrolling screen makes it more of a pain than it needs to be.
They had their moments and uses, sure, but I think they were overused in places they didn’t need to be. Not only that, but they get even faster in later levels. Destroying them with your smash attack generally doesn’t work well anyways as I often still died by the missile, even after I’d destroyed it.
There are initially three worlds each with 15 levels in the classic mode. Beating these will give you the end credits. An extra fourth world with only five levels can be unlocked if you collect 22 stars that are scattered around the previous levels, usually in rather precarious places. In all honesty, I didn’t do it. I’m not crazy enough. Seeing the end credits of the game was enough for me and I didn’t fancy going through all of it again to get those stars.
Outside of the classic mode there are extra levels Micro Hell mode and a survival challenge room mode called Infinite Love. I didn’t get too far into Micro Hell as the rotating perspective in the second level made me nauseous.
I can’t tell you an accurate total play time. I needed to pause the game mid-level and have a break so often it inflated my Daily Log time on the Wii U. I would guess the main campaign took about 5 or 6 hours for me?
The game’s style isn’t exactly perfect though. There were a few times the framerates and music stuttered to a halt, making it almost unplayable. At first I thought it was my capture device acting up, then I thought it could be the Super Mario Maker update downloading in the background, but no. The game just freaked out. Eventually it just cut the music altogether to let the level play back to an acceptable level. Yes, the music was that extreme sometimes it broke the game. And let me tell you, without the music, it’s boring.
Overall, Electronic Super Joy is a game for challenge freaks only (I mean that in the nicest possible way!). It’s difficult and often unfair, laughing into your defeated face. At times it seems as though it’s impossible and you’ll feel you’ll want to give up. Once you do it, however, the feeling is unbelievable. Electronic Super Joy will give you a euphoria that’s hard to compete against. The question is, can you do it?
- Well fitting themes ( music, style, etc.)
- A good challenge
- Crosses the line into frustration all too often
- Missiles can bugger off
Game provided by publisher