Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is a 2D, 8 bit retro style 'torture' platformer. After a brief tutorial level to kickoff the game, it opens up to eight selectable levels. A few are far easier than others. There is a lot of parody going on here. Levels reminiscent of old Nintendo games like Castlevania, Metroid, Super Mario Bros 2 and Zelda 2. You'll even find an 8 bit parody of dirty Atari games. Once you complete those eight, then the final LJN style level gets revealed. It is all based on the comedy from the Angry Video Game Nerd web series that has been around for a decade. Its a good game that doesn't offer any unique features that aren't found in other Nintendo games. If you're looking for something fresh and original gameplay wise, you won't find it here.
The game plays a lot like Mega Man. Jump, shoot (with no autofire), duck and use a special item. The only difference is there is 8 way shooting like Contra. You can even hold the trigger to plant your feet so you don't walk as you aim diagonal. The items are few and far between. The tutorial level will walk you through all them. Glitch gremlin that I think kills everything killable on screen? Seven hours into the game and I still don't know for sure. Super Mecha Death Christ definitely kills everything on screen. Things like a rock that do little to no damage. Its just in the game so the Nerd can make a joke. The Nerd can even pick up a superscope weapon that does more damage, but one hit and you've lost it. A lot of times you'll find it in areas with unkillable enemies.
Even as a torture platformer, the game isn't that difficult. Timing is key. More than missing a jump, its missing a jump at the wrong time might get you hit and you'll fall in a pit. Each level is around 10 minutes. You have health measured in beer. Pick up a beer to restore your health. On easy you can walk into enemies with no regard for your life. Normal difficulty and up you have to have skills to not die from health loss. Each enemy causes you to get knocked back which becomes deadly if a pit is around. With that being said, the majority of deaths come from death blocks. Mega Man 2 had spikes, AVGN has deathblocks. These are everywhere! Some are in the ground. Somme are moving. Some are on and off with a timer. Some appear only when you get close to them. If you're not paying attention, to where you step, you're dead!
Nin-Toasters get used as checkpoints. These are pretty frequent. When you die, you respawn, but not after seeing a death screen with a randomly generated death phrase that usually involves an animal, a fluid and an body hole. You cannot turn off these death screens. It could be to hide a loading screen. You need to see it for a few seconds before pushing jump to get back to the action. Most torture platformers just drop you right back into the action.
Each level is pretty straight forward, but still allows for exploration here and there. You'll even find three extra characters to play as. Each has their own style and can be toggled on the fly with the shoulder bumpers. Mike has a high Luigi jump and can use a short range light sabre to break through walls that get highlighted as you draw near. He also makes invisible platforms appear. Couch Guy has a wave attack from his guitar that will go through blocks when the Nerd's gun can't. His jump is short, so he's better for SHMUP sections of the game. Finally 'Shitface' has a double jump and a short range arced attack, but can't jump as high as the Nerd. He's good for accessing different areas. For the most part, these extra characters are only used for finding secret areas, that have cameos from other ScrewAttack friends along with plenty of beer and 1-ups.
The enemies feel diverse, but there isn't a huge variety. Each level swaps out enemy sprites. High bouncing enemies, enemies that attract to you, wave pattern enemies, floor spikes that shoot up, hovering enemies, circular flying unkillable fireballs and so on. Each level has its own unique big enemies. Snowmen that belch giant snowballs. Giant turd balls that spit dookie at you in Hell. Axe throwers in the Castlevania level. Each enemy's death had particle effects that felt satisfying. At the end of each level is of course a boss, straight from AVGN's history of evil. Jason Vorhees, Satan, Dr. Jekyll / Mister Hyde, General Custer and so on. Most of the bosses just fly in a figure eight pattern.
Unlike most torture platformers, there was dynamic gameplay. Going from a platformer to a sidescrolling SHMUP. Riding down a hill one a dead corpse, streaking blood behind you. Hopping on a giant laser shark and tearing through lava. These were all a lot of fun to break up the levels. Even with each level having its own theme, there were things gimmick wise to make them stand out. The Castlevania level has a series of timed on and off death blocks. The dirty Atari level has bouncing platforms under your feet. The snow level had ice to slide on. The Zelda 2 level had keys to unlock doors. The haunted level has moving block platforms like Super Mario World and darkness outside of a short illumination around the Nerd. The Mega Man future level had timed laser beams and timed on / off platforms. It was able to keep the challenges dynamic.
It is no doubt a good game for fans that like Mega Man's gameplay. There are just little things that get in the way. The text box at the bottom of the screen with the Nerd talking is a distraction and obscures the action. In fact, the entire game is just a distraction. There are laser lights panning through some levels. Things flying everywhere. Even a vomit inducing waterfall ala Super Mario Bros 2. Half a dozen fireballs flying in a circle, bouncing on platforms, while enemies float toward you! Its all very busy, but that's probably to keep your eyes off the death blocks! The comedy also misses its mark, but I feel a lot of comedy games aren't that funny. Maybe its lacking the Nerd's delivery. Its just not as funny in text form when I'm too busy playing the game to read it.
Playing normal mode first took 2 hours for the first 8 levels and 4 hours for the final level. I sank around 100 lives just for the final boss. Then I discovered how to plant my feet by holding the trigger to shoot diagonal without walking. Normal difficulty gives you unlimited continues and 30 lives. I felt the intensity when I had died 10 times on a boss and I was coming to my final life to beat him. Easy difficulty gives you more health and unlimited lives ensuring you'll get through the game. There are higher difficulties, but normal was enough for me. I have a feeling you can complete easy difficulty in under 2 hours.
To summarize, its the best AVGN game you could hope for. Easy difficulty makes it so everyone can complete the game. If it wasn't for easy difficulty I wouldn't recommend it. I'd recommend it more for fans of old Nintendo games than AVGN fans. If you're into 8-bit Nintendo games, especially Mega Man. Get it. Also take note that 50% of players have the 100 deaths achievement. So does that mean on easy mode they beat it in under 100 lives or did they just give up and not complete it?