After over 100 episodes and a movie, the AVGN now has his own video game. So, let's all go back to the past, put on our Power Gloves and Konami LaserScopes, and hope that this game isn't as bad as the ones that the nerd is used to playing.
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures begins in the most predictable way possible as the nerd gets sucked into a bad video game where he must fight his way to the end. This game is divided into eight themed stages with a final one emerging once you've completed them all. There are countless references to the world of AVGN scattered throughout and each one will have fans delight in the inside jokes while outsiders may simply find humour in the absurdity of it all. Your health is suitably represented by bottles of Rolling Rock beer (although their brand isn't particularly mentioned) while the nerd uses a NES Zapper to attack and his trusty Nintoaster to mark checkpoints. You'll also come across power-ups in the form of the Glitch Gremlin and stones that are thrown in an arc along with various cameos such as General Custer and everyone's favourite pickle. This orgy of fan-pleasing content is sure to put a smile on anyone's face.
The entirety of the adventure is rendered with 16-bit graphics and sound. Most enemies and environments do a great job of representing classic moments from AVGN episodes such as foes that annoyingly stay with you and others that move in wave patterns. Even some of the nerd's exaggerated analogies become literally interpreted as playable segments. Stage themes are based on concepts such as a Castlevania-inspired area, Christmas, Hell, and of course an environment composed of different naughty Atari "Mystique" games. The soundtrack consists of authentic 16-bit pieces that range from familiar-sounding to completely original. You'll easily recognize songs and sound effects as they imitate specific retro games quite well. Overall, there is plenty of nostalgia to be seen and heard.
You control the nerd simply and intuitively with one button to jump and another to shoot. Thankfully, one of his pet peeves isn't an issue since he's able to shoot in multiple directions. Along the journey, you might be lucky enough to unlock three of his friends who each have their own ability to offer. Mike Matei has a sword that can destroy certain walls, the Guitar Guy can shoot through solid objects, and the BS Man can double-jump. No matter who you control, it always feels easy and responsive.
Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures features plenty of exciting memorable off-the-wall moments that'll surely stimulate your nerdy side. A couple of scrolling shoot 'em up segments that have you piloting a dragon, a shark that's on fire, and a silver surfboard (I wonder what that's a reference to) are probably the most enjoyable portions of the campaign. Other insane events include riding Santa's corpse like a sled, bouncing on a pair of Atari boobs, and fighting crazy bosses such as Jason, The Giant Claw, Satan, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the ghosts of Christmases past, present, and future. For fans, these moments alone make this game worth purchasing.
However, it's not all awesome since there is an abundance of irritating elements that'll make you incredibly frustrated after the ironic novelty wears off. Most of the journey is comprised of annoying platforming with countless traps installed for the primary reason to take your life. These parts require memorization more than skill since you're forced to keep moving the majority of the time and don't know what lies ahead. For example, a wall of death blocks that kill you instantly when you touch them may materialize out of nowhere. Next time you play, you'll hopefully remember where these traps are and can move past them more effectively, but inevitably something else will surprise you. The difficulty is uneven as a result since these platforming segments are by far the most difficult parts of the game. As the nerd knows; tricky jumps, forced memorization, and instant death add up to a bad game. Fortunately, you can select the difficulty setting, so if you want to have infinite lives then there's no shame in choosing to play on easy.
Fans of the Angry Video Game Nerd will happily purchase this mixed bag of nerd-stalgia and they won't be disappointed. But, just like in the games that the nerd finds himself tirelessly trudging through, you'll come across many reasons to swear like a sailor.
- + Tons of obvious and subtle references are sure to please any fan of the AVGN
- + Handful of truly unforgettable segments
- + Simple and solid controls
- - Too many frustrating platforming sections
- - Memorization is often required to progress
- - Uneven and unfair difficulty, especially parts with an overabundance of death blocks