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Electronic Super Joy (PC) artwork

Electronic Super Joy (PC) review

"The perilous quest to avenge your rump."

Electronic Super Joy (PC) image

A bombastic rush greets you as you enter the cruel yet catchy world of Electronic Super Joy. From there, it segues into a snazzy opening theme--courtesy of composer EmV--that got my cynical fist pumping. Suddenly, an unfamiliar and unwelcome sensation crept over me. "Is this what humans call 'happiness'?" I asked myself. I was determined not to have my judgment tainted by aurally-conjured bliss, though, until I ruled its source to be of similar quality. I thus ceased dancing and allowed my cold-hearted demeanor to return. However, I knew the game was already winning me over...

Super Joy boogies to a juvenile backstory involving severed limbs and evil magicians. Right off the bat, you can tell this platformer refuses to take itself seriously, and it's all the better for it. Our hero has fought his share of musically themed wars, losing several body parts in the process. Worst of all, a wicked wizard pilfered his derriere. In response, the intrepid protagonist embarks on an odyssey fraught with lasers, missiles, giant monsters and inter-dimensional travel. He even tangles with the Pope, who pilots a flying saucer equipped with killing beams. As if that isn't enough, His Eminence also sports a deadly arsenal of religious puns. "I'll cross you out!" ranks among his most vicious threats.

Electronic Super Joy (PC) image

Conquer the main quest and there's another brief campaign to initiate, starring Micro-Satan as the main antagonist. This time, we've shifted from disembodied buttocks to flatulent fallen angels. The miniature one has farted on your dog, and it's up to exact revenge for your precious pup.

Pitch black environments and character models join bumping tracks once you commence a campaign. The terrain is comprised of floating land masses and straightaways. As you leap from one to the next, you could swear that you're traveling to the rhythm of the BGM. Not only does this add an element of excitement to the experience, but challenge too. For instance, I had a habit of adding an extra leap to a series of jumps because the music called for it. More often than not, I plummeted to my death or bounded into a murderous trap. Occasionally, I'd also fail to bounce out of the way of an oncoming foe because the beat didn't sync with my opponent's appearance. At times, the music aids you in your quest by providing you with helpful auditory patterns. Then it knifes you in the back by throwing you a curveball.

Electronic Super Joy (PC) image

All the while, garish backgrounds swirl to life. Nonobjective collections of shapes and twists flash and bedazzle along with the kicking score. Much like a siren's song, though, these simple flares proved to be as imposing in my playthrough as they were gorgeous. More than a few times, the "purdy colors" mesmerized me, and I'd careen into spikes or screw up a tricky jump as a result.

Like the tracks of a well-rounded mix tape, Super Joy boasts a varied collection of stages. You'll outrun swarms of homing rockets, utilizing skillful skips and "smashes" (read: ground pound ability) to elude or neutralize the menaces. Autoscrolling gauntlets push you horizontally or vertically. Along the way, you'll negotiate beds of spikes and quadrupedal monstrosities while avoiding the dreaded left side or bottom of the screen. Gravity and perspective go straight to hell pretty often, too. One stage, for example, rotates the screen ninety degrees while maintaining the original control scheme. Standard pitfalls and shuriken-spitting frogs become massive hassles thanks to this discombobulating shift.

My own favorite sequences string together a slew of obstacles and perils into one fearsome attraction. For instance, you might build momentum on ice to propel yourself over a gaping chasm. You'll slide to a stop at white flag (a checkpoint) that exudes an orgasmic moan. After landing, you'll hop over crawling nemeses before traversing another massive pit. This time, shining stars and upright arrows elevate you as you collide with them. In effect, you bounce your way across the canyon, eventually finding your way to a series of sticky walls. Finally, you end this skull-crushing trial with tiny floating platforms and levitating urchin-like monsters guarding the exit.

Electronic Super Joy (PC) image

As is the case with most successful platformers that release these days, Super Joy sports very tight control response. I mean, you need to be exact during some scenes or you will perish. Clearing some of the worst pits requires you to jump at the very last millisecond. At times, it looked like I bounded too late, as my character was just about off the edge. It turned out that the tiniest fraction of my foot still made contact with the platform, and that was exactly what I needed to surmount the impediment.

Electronic Super Joy is an excellent platformer with loads of content (nearly eighty stages in all, if you count unlockables, "bonus content" and DLC levels). It exudes an infectious vibe that'll have you dancing to its jams and shunning sleep. "I know I can beat this level," you'll say to yourself after your twentieth death and numerous sexy groans. I think you know where this story leads: copious milligrams of caffeine, lots of yawning and rough shifts at work. Such are the sacrifices some gamers make when taking on titles as addictive as Super Joy.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Staff review by Joseph Shaffer (March 28, 2016)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

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EmP posted April 04, 2016:

Bombastic Rush probably isnít the phrase youíre looking for. If itís immediately loud, then youíre probably looking for fortississimo. If itís a period of quiet followed by a sudden noise spike then its pianoforte. Only three people including myself know why this pointless dig exists. More to the point, that composerís name is very close to gimmick infringement.

Good job on knocking off E (itís a tricky one). Iím not really sure that being trolled by BGM, or being distracted by the backgrounds enough to kill you are particularly positive traits, but you do kind of make them sound that way. So, um, yay? While Iím being moany, I will point out that rarely have I heard a more awkward turn of phrase than ďsurmount the impedimentĒ. Thatís so stiff Ė Jason put that in, didnít he? Itís okay; you can tell us.

Surmount the impedimentÖ. Awful. However, the rest of the review zips along. The example before you churn out that terrible phrase was golden, dropping rapid-fire cuts of one solitary journey, and serves as the review highlight. What really sells it as a 5/5 review, though, is how enthused you sound about the entire thing. Sometimes thatís particularly hard to get across using the written word, but itís pulled off well here.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted April 04, 2016:

I'll own "surmount the impediment," though I'm not proud of that one...

I don't see the background messing with you as a flaw because it's obviously intentional. That being the case, I fail to see how it's any different from any other piece of environment or any other hazard tormenting you. I happen to think that utilizing something that typically isn't hazardous is clever, but then again I like difficult platformers that find a variety of ways to throw a wrench into your cogs.

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