Always a warrior on the front line, you lose nearly everything fighting battles to defend funky and rebellious brilliance and to defeat the pompous and evil. An arm is sacrificed for disco. Rock’n’roll demands an eye. Those legs that were so dear, they are nothing in grand scheme of putting DJ Deadly Skillz into a pine box. That evil wizard that you lost that sweet groove thing to without defeating, that was taken without compensation. Now it is time to get revenge for the grooves that will go unappreciated.
The game’s story has a silly framework that pokes fun at the seriousness of most indie games. Electronic Super Joy does anything but take itself seriously. In the game, players come face to face with a murderous pope with a spaceship and other bizarre bosses that give away the light hearted nature of the game. This tone is in contrast to the visuals of the game, which feature heavy black sprites against technicolor worlds. It works to great effect. The best part of the writing is how various bits of story are delivered by townsfolk as the player runs past them creating a striking visual style. While not hugely substantive, the writing of the game succeeds through the fun tone permeating the game.
The platformer formula is not radically redefined in the game, which is not to say that Electronic Super Joy is contrived. Quite the opposite, despite using typical mechanics common in the genre like a ground pound and double jump, how the game uses those elements is clever. Not that it flips the concepts on their head because the smash is the only way to destroy enemies (and works by jumping then performing the action after) and a double jump is just that, an extra jump, but how it restricts the use of them throughout the game is interesting. The way Electronic Super Joy builds/layers these concepts is in a deliberate way that mirrors its gameplay ethos, which is making things as difficult as possible for the gamer. It gives and takes away these elements forcing the player to master some sort of zen style of platforming to answer the game’s various challenges. This game can be grueling and frustratingly difficult at times demanding that the player uses precision and timing in very controlled manners to make it through levels.
Character building is hugely important.
Level design in the game is great and creates some clever and tough platforming challenges and sets up a definite difficulty curve to the game. The way the game mixes enemies, missiles, platforming traps and lasers is smart. Certain levels are so difficult and weird like a level with no check points and inverted gravity that requires a perfect run that make the game standout outside the rewarding difficulty. The boss fights unfold over several levels and they are always either a break from the formula in a cool way or difficult as hell, but they are nice ways to cap off the various worlds. Electronic Super Joy melds its specific gameplay style with its music in such a way that it creates an extremely cool experience.
The visual style for the game has two layers, the sprites/platforms and the backgrounds. Each uses its own visual themes that look great. The sprites and platforms and enemies all have a black and white theme that is reminiscent of the dark and brooding mood that Limbo set with its protagonist and creatures (adding to the indie commentary level the game seems to run on). These black and white elements are livened up and contrasted by vibrant and vivid color backgrounds with effects that will overload the senses. The color backgrounds change depending on level and world and the color palette/hue adds interesting effects to the sprites and foregrounds. In motion, every thing has a dizzying effect that creates a strong visual style. What congeals the entire game into something hugely compelling is the amazing soundtrack. The great electronic tunes from enV creates a great pace and flow for the game’s platforming. Experiencing how the music works with the platforming, visual effects and colors is what makes this game work well.
Electronic Super Joy is a difficult and fun platformer that does plenty of good things to distinguish itself among the bloated genre. It requires a level of skill from players, but rewards them with cool visuals, excellent music and smart challenges. The game has all the strong elements of an exceedingly difficult platformer without the arbitrary jerkiness that they sometimes fall into. The soundtrack is incredible and works so well with the visuals, gameplay and style of the game that playing through the game’s various levels seems like the best trip ever at an EDM festival with lasers and tons of molly.