Around the beginning of my college years, I was introduced to a romhack called Kaizo Mario. I wasn’t playing the game, but we were watching someone else play the game. Basically Kaizo Mario took Super Mario World and made it extremely hard to the point of parody. To a select few, this was a good way to test one’s gaming mettle. To the rest, it was comedic! I Wanna Be The Guy, an indie game, took things to the next level by incorporating assets from old games like Kirby, Castlevania, and MegaMan, and making the game downright sadistic. Then came Syobon Action, which was a re-imagining of the first world of Super Mario Bros. and added some twists to intentionally kill the player. This one was more parody/puzzle than actually difficult. That brings us to today’s game, Eryi’s Action, one of the first (if not, the first) officially published game from this ilk of games. Is it worth buying just to die, or are you better off watching another schmuck die constantly and just laugh at him? After the break, I review Eryi’s Action.
The story follows the wingless fairy Eryi. She was about to eat a melon that she’s been eying for a while. Upon arriving to eat it, the melon was missing. All that was left was a note from Farta X saying that she took it. Eryi’s not having any of that, and she goes to die for a melon. No seriously, the first challenge is actually leaving her house. The whole premise of this game is that you’ll die constantly, whether it’s from hidden spikes, hidden blocks, falling windmills, or another fairy throwing you into spikes. While all this is happening, you keep thinking to yourself, “is this melon really worth it?” But that’s the point. You’re doing all this… for a melon. It’s like trying to save a rolling penny from getting rolled over by a Mack truck. It’s a parody of platformers after all. You’re going through all this stuff for a simple little thing. I do wish though that a bit more was added to the motive than just a simple little melon. And Eryi’s winglessness is only touched upon once. Something funny might’ve surfaced if this was expanded on just a wee bit, maybe even take it to an absurdest level. But this game has a goal in mind, and telling you a story ain’t it. Grade: 70/100
Right away I’ll tell you this is the smoothest experience I’ve had playing Nyu’s Media’s games on this poor little laptop, hence why I never rated anything regarding Frame-rate. I experienced zero lag, and the sprite work was very clean. The presentation is equally nice looking, though some elements are somewhat jarring, like the plain RPG menu at one point during the game. Then again, it’ might be like that on purpose (hard to tell if it is with a game like this). If the game’s goal was to make the itself look deceptively childlike, then it works. Outwardly this looks like a game made for a younger demographic. But when you play the game, you’ll be cursing like a drunk 50-year-old getting his money stolen by a Vegas hooker. So to anyone that wants to play this game, your PC might be the least of your concerns. Just beware if you try to play in full-screen. I tried it, and it did something weird with my computer that required me to restart. Grade:80/100
Music And Sound
The music, like the cutesy graphics, are very deceptive. Take for instance the first stage. It sounds like a leisurely stroll in the park. Except this park is filled with hidden spikes. Same applies to the water level’s calming aquatic music. However, like the premise of the game, that’s the point. The music is made in such a way that it almost sounds insulting, like the bully going “ha-ha” at your misfortune for stepping on dog crap. But how’s the music itself? For the most part it’s decent. There are some nice orchestral bits here and there, but that’s about it. You’ll hear the “Lose Life” theme a lot though. As for sound effects, they’re sadly very simple. One of the (sort of) joys of playing games like this is how overblown the sound effects are to the most simplest of things. Combined with the player’s imminent death, the results can be pretty funny. But here, things don’t get louder than a bomb going off, and that too is just a series of Sega Genesis-like thumps (save for the RPG battle later on. But that’s it). Grade:68/100
I’ll be upfront here and say that this part is probably the hardest thing to review. Since the game is more about trying to intentionally kill you in the most BS of ways and not present a fair challenge, I can’t grade it on the same merits that I do with most other games. Also, I’ll be taking into account my experience with games like Kaizo Mario, IWBTG, and Syobon Action when tackling how this game is made and how clever the traps are. For those that don’t have experience with these games, well, just bear with me for a bit.
Let me get the controls out of the way first. Eryi moves a bit slower than you’d expect. Normally for troll games, you’d move with at least a bit of speed. Here she’s rather sluggish and takes a while to hit her stride. It doesn’t help that her hitbox is also rather large. On the plus side, she does have a run button, which is lacking in most troll games (even if the characters themselves already move fast).
On the design part of things, there are some familiar traps laid out for you. If you’re used to these games, you can see them happening a mile away. For instance, if you see a row of spikes in the ceiling, you already know that one of them (or all of them) will fall off. Or if you see a single block in the corner, you know that it will kill you. It even includes a Kaizo Trap in the very first stage. The game does do some new tricks, like enemies that intentionally jump when you close in on them, making you jump on them and bouncing you into a spiked ceiling, Or being stuck to a block with no means of escape while an enemy comes in to finish you off. The game does get a little evil in one spot in the game. Without spoiling it too much, it involves a large “impassable” wall. If you’re a veteran of these game, you might know what to do. For others, this could turn into a nightmare.
One cool feature this game adds is that you can actually pick up objects and enemies. With the enemies, you can pick them up and throw them at traps to set them off, making them die instead of you. This is a good way of checking if your doubts of that suspicious platform are correct. Sometimes using an enemy is a must, like the aforementioned Kaizo Trap. As for items, they can range from sprinklers to lift up enemies, mushrooms to protect your head (and take to the place its needed), and iron balls to throw at enemies — though the only boss it was ever useful for was the first one. Speaking of which, the Bosses, offer some unique variety to the mix. The suspiciously familiar Croco is the only boss you fight “normally.” Stil, the second boss, is fought by racing him through the clouds. This one does have some troll moments, but if you’re reflexes are good then you’ll outright trounce this guy. Artie’s battle is done RPG style, and you have to beat him in 5 turns. This, like quite a few parts actually, felt like a puzzle. It’s frustrating, but you’ll figure out the order eventually. While I won’t spoil much regarding the battle with Farta, I had to chuckle a bit given what this game is and Nyu Media’s publishing track record so far. Grade: 80/100
*A quick warning about some glitches. I’m not knocking points off since this’ll vary from person to person (and I’m still relatively new to reviewing PC games), but I just want to warn you. Along with the aforementioned Full-Screen issue, I had problems going back to the title screen from the game’s pause menu as the game would just hang. The same might occur if you beat a stage.
So far this is probably one of the hardest reviews I had to write for a game due to the game’s nature. To review it normally would mean giving this game the lowest ratings possible. But when the negative aspect of gameplay is its intent (in this case, intentionally placed death traps), then things have to be looked at differently. Regardless, if you’re used to these kinds of games, it doesn’t hurt to give it a go. As for those you haven’t played these so-called Trap Games, know what you’re getting yourself into. While the warnings this game puts out there about killing you are tongue-in-cheek, there is some truth them. If you’re able to laugh at yourself (or tolerate others laughing at you), then you might find some fun. If not, then this might not be a game you’ll enjoy very much. Your mileage will vary greatly here. So if you’re curious, ignore my grade and try it out.