When you play the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, you can expect a few things. You will die a lot. You will find yourself getting better, and then you will find yourself making stupid mistakes that you didn’t fall for earlier. You will feel determined, disappointed, happy, and very fucking angry. Yes, you will produce vile rants—ones that rival any of the string of curses produced by the fucking nerd himself. Unlike him, however, you don’t have the luxury of blaming a shitty game. When you make a mistake in the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, you are completely at fault; yet, it is for this reason that you will feel so rewarded when you finally succeed—rinse and repeat for each level.
ScrewAttack partnered with FreakZone Games on the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, and I’m not sure they could have picked a better developer. Freakzone does a wonderful balancing act of taking everything that the Nerd hates and making it fun for the player—all while designing the levels so that they’ll be just as angry as him. FreakZone even manages to create a world that’s enticing to both fans of the show and curious gamers interested in a challenge.
The Angry Video Game Nerd, from the popular web series hosted on ScrewAttack, Gametrailers, and Cinemassacre, finds himself sucked into his own shitty game—and I use that term loosely because the game is anything but that. Along with side-kick Naggi, the Nerd must battle through a series of nine sidescroller levels, many of which deal with the very tropes he loathes. Luckily, he’s got plenty of powerups, years of experience, and his trusty blaster and powerglove at his side. While there is a story in The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, the team clearly put more emphasis on the platforming. Dialogue is sparse, and it doesn’t interrupt the game’s actions–meaning you’ll most likely be too busy dying to notice any of the dialogues. Should you stop to read the dialogue, you will probably die. You’re likely to get your fill of the Nerd’s obscene vocabulary after you die. The game has a generator that takes the familiar vulgar structure of the Nerd’s rants and presents them mad-lib style after each of your deaths. Sometimes they can repeat, often using the same subjects of ninjas, penguins and hobos; but for the most part it fits the spirit of the AVGN. Perhaps curious gamers won’t understand the Nerd’s humor, but fans will be pleased, especially when they get to the final boss.
FreakZone does an excellent job of taking themed levels and blending it with AVGN aesthetics and canon; at the same time, they provide plenty of subtle and not-so-subtle nods to classic video games. The sprites and levels look crude, yet it remains true to Cinemassacre’s style. For instance, there is a Christmas themed level behaves like your typical ice level. Suddenly, birds and reindeer will shoot their shit at you, which is grossly disproportionate to their body weight, of course. Later you’ll create a long streak of blood made by Santa’s corpse, which the Nerd uses as a makeshift sled. Corpses will also explode in a shrapnel of bones and innards similar to Mortal Kombat. All enemies come from AVGN canon or from classic video games. And the soundtrack is varied, doesn’t loop too quickly, and is catchy. The overall design is sharp yet crude, which perfectly matches Cinemassacre’s style.
FreakZone also designed the Angry Video game Nerd Adventure’s levels with plenty of nods to the classics, but they blend their inspirations so that it’s a platformer of its own standards. Old school gamers will recognize plenty of challenges from the classics such as the disappearing blocks from Mega Man. Rather than making levels levels short, linear challenges, they created the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventure’s levels to be surprisingly expansive. By doing so, they allow players to explore the level and look for hidden characters like Mike Matei and the Guitarist who lives behind the couch. There’s a more devious reason, however, as each of the nine levels is an endurance test for even the most seasoned gamer. The game allows you 30 lives without even inputting the Konami code; however, you’ll need each life to make it through a level the first time around–maybe even more than that. The game even has some variety to it, taking power-ups from classic AVGN episodes, such as the rocks from the Friday the 13th episode, the Glitch Goblin, and the Super Mecha Death Christ. They also include the SCHMUP aspects of the Silver Surfer game, except FreakZone designed them to be fair and enjoyable. If I have one complaint, it’s that the enemies scarcely drop power-ups. In my time playing I managed to get two lives from all of the enemies. Still, this is a minor setback, and the game was fair regardless.
Luckily the controls are appropriate for the challenge. The controls are similar to Mega Man except the game is courteous enough to allow the default character to shoot and all directions and duck. There are multiple characters and control they all control differently. For instance, the Nerd is the average character who controls decently and can shoot in all directions. The Guitarist, on the other hand, is speedy shoots powerful wave beams from his guitar; however, he’s a bit more difficult to stop, cannot jump as high, and he can’t aim in all directions. Each character has their own quirks and can be used at crucial spots in a level. Despite each character’s control quirks, you can’t blame them for your deaths. You can even use an Xbox 360 controller in the PC version; however, I managed to beat the game using a keyboard.
What’s going to stop many from purchasing the Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, besides having no interest in the web series, is the difficulty. While I would agree that the game will test your endurance, I think the difficulty contributes to an overall rewarding experience. FreakZone and ScrewAttack were generous to include multiple difficulty levels to help soften the blow or up the ante. I played on Normal for my first playthrough, and I constantly got my ass kicked. I’m sure I’ll take even longer to clear the hardest difficulty for what’s supposed to be a short game.
FreakZone and ScrewAttack partnered up to create a fantastic platformer based on the endearing web series. They managed to accomplish more than that, however, as the game is fantastic by its own standards. They’ve created a game that will satisfy both fans of the show and aficionados of platformers. The Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is a platformer that can jump with its own legs, which just happens to be about the most angriest gamer you’ve ever heard.
This review is based on a digitally downloaded version of the game for the PC provided by FreakZone Games.