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Electronic Super Joy: Groove City

For: iPad   Also on: Android, iPhone, Steam

A great groove

Product: Electronic Super Joy: Groove City | Developer: Michael Todd Games | Format: iPad | Genre: Hardcore, Music/ Rhythm, Platform | Players: 1 | Version: Europe
Electronic Super Joy: Groove City iPad, thumbnail 1
There's something painfully brilliant about Electronic Super Joy: Groove City. It's a cacophonous side-scrolling platformer that mixes together ideas from the past and the present to create an experience that’s startlingly unique.

It's also funny, incredibly tough, and gorgeous to look at. In other words it's exactly the sort of bonkers indie fun that the App Store can do so well.

This is the kind of game that deserves to be played by as many people as possible. And while some will be put off by its difficulty spikes, it's worth sticking with it. If only to find the next pop-culture reference or cackle at the next joke.

Leaping lizards

The game is set in a city that’s been attacked by a giant stripper robot. It's up to you to put it all back together again. You're aided by a variety of weird robots, and a pope who keeps making inappropriate references about polishing his sceptre.

The platforming on offer demands super-fast reflexes. There are times you'll die over and over again, plummeting down bottomless pits or grinding your bones against the spinning teeth of some awful spider-cog.

But everything is so well put together that you'll want to carry on regardless. Well, you might want to swear a lot first, but in the end there’s that overwhelming feeling that next time you're going to make it. Or the time after that.

You control everything with a trio of huge buttons. A couple on the bottom left of the screen let you move left and right, and a third in the bottom right lets you jump. You can only really see these buttons when you push them, and they do have a habit of obscuring the action a little.

But it's a pretty minor niggle, sometimes even adding to the joyous madness that's flashing around in front of you.

Die and die again

Checkpoints explode in crazed beams of white lights. Jump pads hover in mid-air, only to disappear when you've hit them once. Swarms of angry, jagged critters spew out of gaps in the scenery, demanding pin-point precision if you're going to get past them.

Some platforms aren't platforms at all, and others disappear if you stand on them for too long. There are stars to collect, but some of the stars turn into rockets that chase you inexorably across the level.

You might be leaping around one second, only for the screen to start moving the next, leaving you scrambling over structures and past foes.

It's all delightfully mad in the best possible way, and beneath it all beats the treacherous heart of a retro platformer. Things are hard, but when you get past them you can't help but clench a fist and give a cheer.

Duck and cover

Electronic Super Fun: Groove City is also brilliantly subversive. It's worth playing through just to read the script, which is littered with barbed nods and cheeky references that will make you smile.

Even the difficulty spikes are well handled, with a kind checkpoint system ensuring you never restart too far away from the place you died.

This is a brilliant example of touchscreen gaming done right. It's sharp, gorgeous to look at, and revels in its ridiculousness. If you're looking for something to waste the weekend on, this comes highly recommended.
Electronic Super Joy: Groove City
Reviewer photo
Harry Slater | 17 October 2014
A brilliant, funny, and wonderfully balanced platformer, Electronic Super Fun: Groove City is well worth your time
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