Electronic Super Joy – PC
Platform: PC Browser
Developer/Publisher: Michael Todd Games
Released: August 23, 2013
Nerd Rating: 8.5/10
Link to Game
Reviewed by ryanvoid
You lost an arm
in the Disco Wars of 1515.
You lost an eye
in the War of Rock ‘n Roll.
You lost both legs
defeating DJ Deadly Skillz.
And you lost your ENTIRE butt
to an Evil Wizard.
This is the story of your Quest… to get revenge for your butt!
Electronic Super Joy might be the single filthiest game I’ve ever played. When I say that, I don’t mean that it’s crammed with splashy gore and naked people. You don’t even know what the protagonist looks like, as a matter of fact; most everything in the foreground is completely obscured by shadows. Electronic Super Joy drips with sleaze solely due to the atmosphere, the sound effects, and a thumping dance soundtrack that burrows into your brain like a disco parasite. You’re going to want to wash your hands afterward. This game is uncomfortably fun.
Let’s start with the soundtrack. Sweet fancy Moses, the soundtrack.
The bar for head-explodingly good soundtracks in indie platformers has already been set by games like Hotline Miami and Super Meat Boy, but Electronic Super Joy does them one better: The background of each level pulses and swirls in time with the thumping beats, creating a hallucinatory technicolor dreamscape as you pursue justice for your stolen butt. It careens wildly through techno and dubstep, trance and house, and only rarely borders on monotony.
It’s important that the songs themselves are varied and interesting enough to keep from becoming grating, because you die a lot. It’s par for the course with the new school of 8-bit-inspired indie affairs, but if your character has the lifespan of a concussed mayfly, there’d better be a damned good soundtrack to keep you going. ESJ‘s music keeps you pumped enough to power through the sticky walls, lasers, and shuriken-throwing frogs.
The gameplay, aside from being maddeningly difficult, is also inventive and clever as hell. You fly a UFO, dodge lasers, zip across questionably-greased floors, battle the Pope, and generally contort the laws of physics into some truly novel positions. Sheer difficulty isn’t enough to make a game interesting, and ESJ throws a series of gonzo challenges at you with anarchic glee. When you negotiate your way through Stage 4, a level so hard you’ll curse gods that haven’t even been invented yet, you feel like you’ve really earned it.
The main drawback is the storyline, which frequently feels like listening to a conversation between toddlers on designer drugs. While this is literally a game about rescuing your own stolen butt from a dude called the Groove Wizard, there’s zero continuity between the stages, and it’s purely a vehicle for weirdo challenges and boss battles. The dialogue comes mostly from the shadowy peanut gallery of head-bobbing bystanders, who alternately offer gaming tips and goofy-assed non-sequiturs. This is not a game striving for depth. It’s self-aware enough to recognize its own absurdity, however, and this is what ultimately redeems it. It’s strangely compelling and sticky, like a pocketful of gummy bears on a hot day.
And “strangely compelling” sums up how utterly, utterly filthy this game is. Electronic Super Joy is like a concept game based on “The Ding-Dong Song” by Gunther. The SFX made by shambling up the sticky walls sounds like a bowl of macaroni and cheese being stirred by Satan in a dance club. It is the single most unholy sound I have ever had the good fortune to experience, and it’s complemented by orgasmic moans that greet you every time you die or reach a checkpoint. Alternately a vaguely European guy groaning “OOH-LA-LAAA” and a lady squealing in cartoonish ecstasy, they’re the porno version of the dog from Duck Hunt.
All of these elements would be fairly innocuous on their own, but the combined filth of the moans, the sticky noises, and the pounding electronic music creates an environment that completely sells the ridiculous action of Electronic Super Joy. It’s to the game’s credit that it doesn’t attempt to reach deeper themes, because this game sticks (ew) to what it does well – creating a vile, addictive, and bizarre gaming experience.
Just don’t play it loudly in a public place.
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