As people walked through the Indie Mega Booth on the PAX East show floor this past weekend, they may have noticed one TV in particular that had an ominous “Beware of Seizures” warning scrawled on a post-it note attached to it.
Those with enough morbid curiosity, like myself, got to experience the treat that is Electronic Super Joy.
Developed by Michael Todd Games, ESJ is nothing short of a techno-fused adrenaline-pumping semi-psychotic rave that inhabits the narrow confines of a videogame. That may sound negative, but it was a fantastic experience, if a little heavy on the flashing lights.
The game reminded me a lot of the Bit-Trip series by Gaijin Games and Sound Shapes; due in part to a minimalist gameplay design that easily intermingled with a fantastic soundtrack.
Like any other platformer, ESJ tasks players with navigating a world rife with precarious platforms and bottomless pits. Infused with its techno tunes, the game immediately requires the player to do all that while coming to grips with new skills and new challenges along the way.
Though the game manages to get more and more fast-paced as it goes on, checkpoints are mercifully placed throughout the level, coming in handy during particularly difficult segments when the time is right. This is key for ESJ, as it could help keep the player wanting to come back for more and complete the level, despite teeth-grinding difficulty at times.
If there’s one criticism to be made, it’s in how the game’s jumping mechanic feels. Conservation of momentum isn’t completely maintained, as jumps tend to lose steam part of the way through. This problem is mitigated by the fact that platforms are spaced a certain distance apart as to make these jumps easier to handle. However, it does take getting used to.
A nice little bonus is the lighthearted quips from in-game avatars interspersed throughout the level. It helps alleviate the tensions of timing those jumps.
All I know is that if I hear this game’s soundtrack next time I’m out at the club, I won’t be surprised.