SGC is in full swing for the first time in three years, and with it comes a slew of indie games—and what better way to celebrate than have ScrewAttack’s own game based on the fucking Nerd himself. Given that the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is one of ScrewAttack’s main attractions, it was no wonder that the vendor had the longest line.
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is appropriately designed as a side-scrolling platformer. Players could pick between two levels in the demo, but I managed to play only one of the two levels. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures blends the old-school classics with the AVGN’s universe. Enemies were a mixture of AVGN enemies and the old school challenges from the games he’s reviewed that force the nerd to drop creative F-bombs—some, like Rob the Robot, blend the two universes. While the game is pixelated, it doesn’t seem to look strictly like a NES, SNES or other old school console, which I actually appreciated. It essentially blends the old school pixelated aesthetics with the gore that Cinemassacre prides itself. Upon death, the AVGN explodes bones that are much larger and in higher quantity than a human body explode everywhere, similar to Mortal Kombat. The developers either worked closely with Cinemassacre, or they had a deep understanding of what the website is about.
I was somewhat surprised at how large the levels actually were. According to the developers, Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures the game will have exploration elements, which can lead to some risk/reward situations. The level I played in Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures blends some of the level design and challenges from the Mega Man series. I played a level that had platforming challenges included lasers akin to Mega Man 2, special blocks with skulls which kill you upon contact, and it even has disappearing blocks—much to my chagrin. The Nerd brings his own powerups, however. I found the glitch gremlin, which froze certain enemies, and the Super Mecha Death Christ which brought plenty of death instead of salvation.
The Nerd comes equipped with a NES Zapper and the Power Glove. The Nerd’s actions were restricted to running and shooting, which seems appropriate given the games the Nerd plays. At some point I came across a pixelated couch which fans of the show will no doubt recognize as the sleeping space for the guitarist, Kyle Justin. From here I gained the ability to switch between the two characters at will. They control the same, but they have different abilities. The Nerd, for instance, shoots straight lines and even diagnolly, which works great when enemies are lined one after another. When enemies are sporadically spread out, it’s better to switch to guitarist, who attacks with his guitar. He emits deadly sound waves in an S formation, which takes out multiple enemies at varying altitudes, and he can shoot through walls; however, he’s not so good when dealing with single enemies without having to readjust himself. There will be more characters in the final game, including Mike Matei (I wasn’t able to find him) who will apparently have the ability to exploit glitches—much akin to his videos where he exploits glitches in video games. Each character will have to be strategically used for optimal success.
Part of the reason the line was long—there actually wasn’t a lot of people in the line—was that the game is Nintendo hard. I remember one of the representatives lamenting how he didn’t have a counter for every time someone swears. I was one of the “top 5%” who made it through one of the levels, and I could only blame myself for each one of my deaths. I can’t blame it on the controls; they’re too tightly designed. None of the level hazards seemed cheap; I had plenty of warning on what they could do and what I needed to do to get past them, even if it was easier said than done. The demo allowed me infinite lives and checkpoints. In the final build players will have to start over once they hit zero lives.
The AVGN mirrored my frustrations via in-game text; however, I was usually too busy trying to beat the level that I mostly glanced over his dialogue. I did, however, notice the Nerd flipping me off when I took too long contemplating a section of the level. Each time I died I was brought back to a screen, where the Nerd will use one of his creative swears, typically in the form of a “I would rather…” The developers confirmed that each of these is randomly generated, so they fit the spirit of what the Nerd would say without repeating it.
The final area of the level I played borrowed directly from the Silver Surfer, and it even controlled similarly, even though Freakzone Games has a far better understanding of good game design. This is where the demo ended, and I felt immense satisfaction upon completing such a difficult level.
ScrewAttack Games and Freakzone Games, publisher and developer respectively, have a clear understanding of old school game design and the Angry Video Game Nerd. It is an expertly crafted platformer, and I would rather play this game than let a buffalo take a diarrhea dump in my ear. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is coming soon to Steam this year. Expect 3DS and Wii U versions shortly after, though depending on the game’s success, it could be played on other consoles as well.