Not every game features gigantic robotic strippers called JoJo who have gone on the rampage because an evil mastermind has stolen their laser-firing nipples, and to be honest that’s a terrible shame. But since Electronic Super Joy: Groove City (henceforth abbreviated to ESJ:GC) has all of those things, and a whole load more, then more games should really try following suit in the future.
When the opening five minutes of your production have the words “Pope Boris”, “Doctor Swinger”, and “Groove City”, then you’ve either created a masterpiece or a catastrophe. Throw in some hardcore, to the point, platforming with the most vibrant, and bouncy soundtrack to ever grace video games, and suddenly the player is fighting missiles to the sound of a woman having an orgasm in the background.
ESJ:GC stands testament to what Indie as a genre can be. It’s totally stupid, lacking in any thought provoking points, or indeed narrative: and that’s perfect. Instead of trying to build a world, or create any suspension of disbelief where players can engage with characters as if they are real, Micheal Todd Games instead opted to try blow your brains out through your ears. Which is the opposite of a problem when every level is perfectly designed around the swells, rises, and falls of the songs. Never before in a platformer has the soundtrack been so very bound, by the gameplay itself, to the challenges that the player faces. And there are many, many challenges to be faced indeed.
As the purple-caped hero of this electronic world jumps around like a frog on amphetamine, enemies will forever nipping at their heels. Regular platforming enemies are typically slow to start off, to allow for players to gauge the skill curve, but in ESJ:GC the skill curve is similar to the height of Everest so there’s point trying to scale/measure it. Because perfection is an attribute only attained by those who can master pure blooded platform titles, it’s precisely what is asked of you by the developer.
Which, really, is the only fall down of ESJ:GC when it comes to the difficulty. There’s a naturally fine line between ‘too hard to play’ and ‘too easy to bother’, and it takes a lot of technical skill to create an appropriate balance, but this isn’t felt sometimes within the harsh world of Groove City. Enemies kill you in only a single hit, and some of the tracking on certain projectiles that home in on you is simply unfair as you dodge, and leap through some of the greatest jumping puzzles ever made.
But if you’ve never played this gem, and you fancy picking up something easy to play, yet strangely addictive, then this ‘thing’ is right up your alley (as well as likely being out the window by the time you’re done with it).
Electronic Super Joy: Groove City – 8/10