After waiting impatiently for the release of Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, I bought a copy soon after its release and fired it up. I’d watched some gameplay footage and read about the difficulty, but I felt confident in my abilities. With a cold beer at the ready, I picked up my controller and hit start. If people have told you this game is hard, they’re all liars – it’s boob bouncing, spike avoiding, shit dodging, flame evading, mind numbingly difficult – and I love it!
Developed by FreakZone Games and published by ScrewAttack Games, this retro-styled 8-bit throwback has you playing as characters from the popular Angry Video Game Nerd series, that garnered a massive and loyal following online. As a loyal fan myself, I was glad to see so many references from the show featuring in the game, including Shit Pickle, who can be found hiding in the most obscure places.
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures Review
As a failure at most modern shooters, I take refuge in the fact that I’m good at retro games. However, AVGN Adventures puts forward challenging gameplay reminiscent of my childhood days playing Mega Man, reintroducing the frustration of gaming that I’d long since forgotten. Each colorful level has a unique theme, ranging from the Castlevania-themed “Assholevania” to a hilarious retro porn-themed stage that nods to Custer’s Revenge. It’s easy to see that a lot of love went into the level design with challenging platforming and lots of Easter Eggs to find.
You start off as the Nerd (James Rolfe), and with some careful searching you can also find Guitar Guy, Mike and Bullshit man, who are all playable characters. Each have their own special, and useful, talent that will help you get into those hard to reach places. And though the game can be completed whether or not you locate them, they do make the game a little easier. You’ll also encounter power-ups like Super Mecha Death Christ who can be used to destroy everything onscreen and the Glitch Gremlin who can briefly freeze all enemies and objects, to allow for safe passage (but be quick).
There are multiple areas within the game that are challenging enough to have you repeating them over and over again, until you’ve developed the necessary finesse to maneuver your way through. You’ll die A LOT, and you’ll curse like a drunken sailor, but you’ll pick up your controller and keep playing. Your deaths are never due to poor game design, but down to your own mistakes, and each and every death can be avoided.
You’ll be tempted by goodies in the most unreasonable places, making you question your level of skill and whether you should take a chance at getting an item or play it safe. These tough choices are abundant and will reward the skilled and punish the greedy.
My greed got the best of me many times, making for numerous deaths. I once lost 5 lives attempting to get a 1-Up, until I got smarter and moved on. If you’re confident in your skills, you can attempt to collect the 1-Ups, and power-ups scattered within the levels, though I can’t even count the number of times I’ve backtracked for an item at my own peril.
There are plenty of checkpoints throughout each level, especially after very difficult sections, so you’ll never have to start from the beginning or too far away from where you died. The most annoying thing in the game are the skull boxes that serve up instant deaths to anyone who touches them. I’ve always found instant death obstacles as an excessive punishment for making a wrong move or sloppy jump. However, they are avoidable and with persistence, you’ll work out the patterns and timings you’ll need to claw your way to the end.
I played the Steam version on my PC using an Xbox 360 controller. The control system is solid and responsive. I’ll admit that I died multiple times before realizing that you cannot second guess your jumps with this game. When you make a jump, you need to commit to it, or you’ll find yourself falling through the numerous pitfalls throughout each level. The multi-directional shooting is a great addition, especially when it comes to bosses. I’ve gotten so used to regular horizontal shooting in other games that it took me awhile to put it to its full use. The ability to duck is also advantageous when everything onscreen is trying to kill you.
They’re nasty buggers that are situated in the most inconvenient of places. They’ll knock you off ledges, interrupt your jumps and make you swear till you’re blue in the face – but if you’re patient and careful, there’s always a way to dispatch them before they can do any damage. In the vein of retro gaming, enemies follow a preset pattern, allowing you to time jumps to avoid enemies or take them out. The bosses at the ends of levels are varied and supply a decent challenge to round-off each level. Once you’ve worked out their pattern, you’re gold.
As a kid, I’d play games like Mega Man, Kick Master and Contra over and over again until I “clocked” them. Those classic games had something special that brought gamers back time and time again with their challenging and well thought out design. AVGN Adventures is a throwback to the glorious days of retro gaming and fits into the category of games that will challenge you and keep you coming back for more. Advertized as “The Most Rewarding Game of the Year,” it lives up to its promise and gets two
fingers thumbs up from us. For any old school gamer looking for a bit of nostalgia from gaming past, or anyone that’s looking for a challenging platformer that doesn’t take itself too seriously, AVGN Adventures will not disappoint. You can pick it up on Steam here.