Developed By: FreakZone Games Published By: Screenwave Media Categories: Retro, Platformer Release Date: 10.30.20
Content Warning: The following review will include profanity, the images will include both profanity and mature imagery.
For people in the youtube scene for the better part of the last fifteen years, James Rolfe’s character The Angry Video Game Nerd has been a staple. Reviewing shitty games and making literal…shitty jokes. While I can’t entirely agree with some of the videos, I do acknowledge the place he had on youtube and as one of the big inspirations for many future youtubers and game critics. In 2013 an official videogame was published as AVGN Adventures, three years later a sequel ASSimillation would release. And now, in 2020, the games have been remastered, rebalanced, and released on Nintendo Switch, as AVGN 1& 2 Deluxe.
An easy comparison would be that both of these games are a bit like Mega Man. Not in the power stealing, but in the format of choosing stages at ones’ will, and the stages themselves. That is to say, Mega Man mixed with I Wanna Be The Guy. To the uninformed, this means the game is full of instant death all around you, in AVGN’s case, instant death blocks. Deluxe adjusts this, but you can play the original way if you want, with the game giving you a very Id Games like difficulty screen. AVGN and parts of ASSimillation feel like games that The Nerd would complain about, and the game’s story of the titular character getting sucked into a bad videogame means the game is fully aware of it. References are the name of the game. To games that have been covered by AVGN, AVGN lore, and even in the case of the sequel, other Cinnemasacre, content such as Board James. If you’re a fan, you’ll absolutely love this, if not, it might all just fly over your head. That isn’t to imply that the games don’t hold up on their own and need the references to stand, but it is a nice treat for fans. You get a nice variety in terms of stages in both games. A Christmas level, classic horror levels, in black and white, a Japanese city with not-Godzilla in the back, and even a level based adult videogames on the Atari which has a boss that does things I’m going to not mention here. There’s powerups and items you can pick up, the generic bombs and arching rocks (which the latter is a reference to the Friday the 13th NES game), to screen clearing Super Mecha Death Christ, and time stopping Glitch Gremlin. Beer heals The Nerd, and kegs can be stored.
The first game has including the final stage, nine stages, all of decent length, with each having collectable letters spelling NERD, a hidden “Shitpickle”, and a handful of secret characters, all playing different. One can shoot a wave shot that goes through walls, like Metroid, and even a melee only character. The characters are quite deviously hidden, which I love, though requiring you use one character to get another is something I didn’t like in a game like Mega Man X5, which required you to unlock armors to in turn get other armor pieces. At the end of each stage is a challenging boss, but nothing too bad that I felt like I had to quit playing and come back, it was all done within one trip, even if I died a lot, and the game counts that. The sequel takes the path of having, including the final world, six worlds, five of which having three stages and a boss. I almost prefer this at times as to not stress me out, but some stages feel over too soon. I do enjoy having bosses by their own however, as it leaves plenty of room to practice. However, two of the bosses quite like to have unskippable cutscenes, one of which has it inbetween phases for a boss, which is really quite annoying. For ASSimillation, instead of new characters, you can find hidden upgrades, which change your appearance and give you new abilities…like Mega Man X. While the different styles is missed, I do enjoy how stages can be balanced better now because of that. As a whole, the first game is much harder, but I never really had to moments of frustration, while in the sequel, it’s mostly easier, but there’s a particular level I just had the hardest time with and took me longer than any stage in the first game. Bosses are challenging, but can be tanked if you have any healing items like beer kegs. Upon beating both games, you unlock Tower of Torment, which is a series of harder levels, much like the unlockable final levels in recent Super Mario titles. I like this, it’s a fantastic test of skill, and doesn’t feel mandatory if you just can’t beat them.
Both games have rather nice spritework and music, though I do prefer both in the sequel. The first game’s artystyle seems like a very good first try, but still has the first try issue, it feels a tad inexperienced and some stages can look a little inorganic, which seems fixed in the sequel. It’s more of a cleaned up look and smooths the rough edges out and it’s the same with the music. I do like the music in both games, but the one song to stick with me was from ASSimilliation, in that Japan themed level, which had a song that used samples from the song used in the notoriously bad game Hong Kong 97.
So with Deluxe, you do get a rebalanced difficutly, replacing majority of the insta death blocks with just regular spikes, doing damage, a few characters are replaced with the story changing a tad, and some spritework is edited. These are the best ways to play the games, and if you can get passed the game’s brand of humor, you’re in for a good time.
Buy Now: $14.99
*Game Download Code supplied for review purposes