Groove City

Pssst. Hey kid... Wanna ride a biplane piloted by the pope so you can rescue a robot stripper's laser nipples and restore your city to its former undemolished glory? Yeah? Then check out Groove City!

If you've played Electronic Super Joy before, you'll know what to expect from Groove City. If you haven't, then I shall endeavour to explain. Electronic Super Joy comes on like a nightmarish drug trip in the worst club you've ever been to. A hybrid bullet hell platformer set to flashing lights, bright colours, thumping dance music and the occasional orgasmic groan, the game is a treat for the ears and brutal for the eyes and thumbs.

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From the twisted brain of Michael Todd, Groove City is described as a mini-sequel to Electronic Super Joy. Featuring more banging tracks from EnV, the game has you teaming up with the pope to track down the evil Dr. Swinger and recover Jojo the robot stripper's brand new laser nipples, so she'll stop her city-destroying rampage!

The platforming action is fast and frenetic, with multiple, multiple deaths to be expected on each level (although there is a bonus for completing a level without dying). Homing missiles, throwing stars and horrid little creatures are all out for your blood, making leaping over the simplest of pits a challenge for even the most dexterous of digits.

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There are two things that stop ESJ:GC from being ultra-frustrating. The first is the instant respawn that slings you back to the last activated checkpoint, and the second is the fact that dying never comes from imprecise controls or bad level design. If you die (which you will) it's because you are not good enough, or fast enough, or you hesitated at the wrong moment. Maybe you died because you were simply overwhelmed by the shiny lights and pounding bass. No matter, hit Y and try, try again.

Therein lies the simple beauty of ESJ:GC. It is bastard hard, it will make your thumbs hurt and your eyes ache, but it won't make you throw your controller or kick a cat out of frustration. Instead, getting past one small section can feel like an epic achievement and even if you die 100 times at the same place it's cool, because the music is awesome! The game is rather short, but offers a speedrun mode and bonuses for not dying, which are challenges that will be hard work for even the mightiest of disco-jedis.

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3.99€ gets you the game, EnV's new EP and the game OST, which to my mind is an absolute bargain. You don't need a copy of the original Electronic Super Joy, but it's well worth a look (it's longer and harder than Groove City. Pun intended).