I think this experience best sums up the Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation experience: at the end of a harrowing ride atop a tanuki with seriously substantial cojones, the Angry Video Game Nerd faced a mechanized Hello Kitty with gatling guns for paws. And that’s just one boss in one of five distinctly flavored worlds so, you know, buckle up.
Here’s the general… synopsis, as it were. Whilst the Angry Video Game Nerd sleeps off his latest alcohol fueled gaming session, the world (and all of its inhabitants including an inexplicably anthropomorphized pickle) is turned into a video game. Aggravated but otherwise surprisingly unperturbed, AVGN (to his closest friends, mind you) sets out to right various wrongs and bring an end to the bad video game that Earth has become.
Shakespeare this ain’t. It’s crass, it’s juvenile, and it’s very self referential, though that’s hardly unexpected. It was all still pretty darn funny too, with a well executed swear here, a ridiculous string-of-nonsensical-swear-word-sentences there. Despite not having seen any of the Nerd’s videos, I at no point felt “out of the loop.” A fan of the series will get a lot more mileage out of AVGN II, but it isn’t necessary to play catch up to enjoy the game for what it is: a well-executed, old school action platformer with shooting bits.
After a genuinely funny and interesting tutorial, you’re presented with five different worlds (think Mario layout) – you’ve got your Japanese world, your future/alien world, even everyone’s favorite sewer world makes a stinky appearance, plus you can start with whichever world you so choose. The vast majority of these levels are going to be mechanically similar. You will jump on platforms, reach checkpoints, kill baddies that jump and fly and charge, grab NERD collectible cartridges, get to the end, blow up the stage – rinse and repeat. Once or twice in a world you’ll encounter a level that shakes things up – the aforementioned tanuki ball ride, a chase sequence, or some mine carting shenanigans. In addition, some levels will finish with you facing off against a certain professional acquaintance of AVGN (think the Black Knight in Shovel Knight), where you have to beat him in single combat to finish a few levels.
At the end of each world you have to fight a big baddie to retrieve a piece of the (sigh) sexforce, which is required to open up the endgame. Most of the boss fights were well done, but there were two in particular that I found a bit cheap. These had near unavoidable attacks, and cramped arena spaces, but with some patience (and a few bits of AVGN’s collectible armor/weapons scattered secretly in some levels) nothing is insurmountable. Though some of the platforming is white-knuckle inducing to say the least.
This is a tight, entertaining, silly little tribute to the games of yesteryear. It’s challenging, there’s a lot of variety, and with an average playtime of two to four hours if you’re not going for every collectable, most will get the bang for their buck as it were. Enemies explode in a delightful shower of viscera and googly eyeballs, the controls are tight, and the platforming tighter still.
That’s not to say it was devoid of problems. This reviewer managed to get to the very end of the game and encountered an area that was seemingly impassable without a certain upgrade that, until that point, was unnecessary for progress. In nearly each world there are flying enemies, none of which are bound by the same natural laws our hero is. They can fly through walls, fly under AVGN, and cause all manner of chaos while he’s platforming away. Finally, the endgame level experiences a difficulty spike that will be severely frustrating for the less grizzled gamer.
Ultimately, is this the game for you? Obviously fans of the series will pick up things that flew right over my head, but fans are probably going to buy this regardless of one reviewer’s assessment. However, even for non-fans, Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation is a fun action platformer at its core. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll probably string together some ridiculous swear sentences of your own and cause AVGN himself to blush empathetically. In that regard, it is a success.
Angry Video Game Nerd II: ASSimilation was reviewed on PC using a Steam key provided by the developer.
An enjoyable, challenging, varied action-platformer-shooter-tribute-thingy; enjoyable for superfans and the, uh, laynerd alike.