Electronic Super Joy: Groove City, and its predecessor Electronic Super Joy, are two popular 2D side-scrolling platforming games. The games fall under the ‘masocore’ category, where the gameplay is extremely difficult and requires far too much patience and precision to play. Other than that the games are also known for their 8-bit graphics, epic EDM soundtrack, and tongue in cheek humor.
Although the original game never arrived on mobile, the developers have released the second version on iOS. I did enjoy both the games on PC, so I was looking forward to how the mobile version was going to be. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that great.
As mentioned earlier, Electronic Super Joy: Groove City is a 2D side-scrolling platforming game. The game has you jumping from one platform to another, dodging obstacles and enemies, and collecting stars. All of which sounds wayyyy easier than it actually is.
Well, first of all, the game is tough. Your jumps and movements have to be very precise and you are also expected to have quick reflexes. Fans of platforming games would be familiar with this but as with some games Groove City is a lot tougher and you need to be extra quick to dodge enemies and make that jump.
If you die, and you will, many, many times, you will respawn at the nearest checkpoint. Fortunately, there are plenty of checkpoints in a level but they are usually strategically placed so you will have to do a series of complicated maneuvers before you reach the next one and if you miss it you go back to the previous one and try again.
Again, this needs some degree of patience, which not a lot of people have. If you are conditioned to modern games and their velvet glove approach you will find yourself fumbling at the first jump. Those who grew up on classic arcade games and know how tough it was back in the day would relish in this torture.
Now for the controls. On PC you could obviously use a controller and even the keyboard controls were decent but here you have just the touchscreen. There are only three controls here that you have to worry about, forward, backward, and jump. The left corner is split into the forward backward buttons, and the right corner is entirely for jumping.
Now I don’t have problem with the actual controls. They are very easy to get used to and work remarkably well, despite what your initial opinion might be of the left right control split. The problem is that the controls are translucent and are always visible on screen. Even worse, when you actually press them they turn white and nearly opaque, making it hard to see what’s underneath, especially in the dark levels. Half the time I died not because I wasn’t being careful but I couldn’t see where I was jumping. Although neither of the controls need to be visible, I can at least understand why the left/right controls are visible but there is zero reason for the jump controls to be visible all the time since an entire corner is assigned to that.
This does hamper the gameplay a lot although I eventually managed to get used to it and continued playing. I wish the controls could be hidden, though, and they add that option in a future update.
The game does have a lewd sense of humor. There are plenty of butt and stripper jokes, and several other references and inside jokes thrown about for good measure. But none of it compares to the orgasm sounds you hear when you reach or respawn from a checkpoint. Yeah, you read that right. You hear women (and sometimes men) making orgasmic sounds, which is pretty hilarious the first time you hear it. Of course, this might not be hilarious to everyone or when others are around so there is a PG mode that turns them off, and censors all the offensive words in the game.
Groove City is not a big game and has only 13 levels, which if you’re patient and vigilant enough, could be completed in a day.
One cool thing about this game is that if you purchase the iOS version you get the Steam code for the desktop version, which runs on Windows, OS X, and Linux.
Graphics and Sound
The 2D, 8-bit graphics look simple but cool on the PC and run at insane framerates. On iOS the game looks blurry and pixelated. Not pixelated as in 8-bit pixelated but low resolution graphics being run at higher resolution pixelated. On top of that the framerate is kinda terrible. Not unplayable but not at all what you’d expect from a simple 2D game. And to make matters worse, the game is actually just 16:9 and on the iPad it is stretched vertically to fit the screen.
This is some spectacularly lazy work by the developers. As if covering half the screen by the controls wasn’t bad enough, the game has stretched and pixelated graphics that run at mediocre framerate.
The sound similarly suffers when moving to the smaller screen. Both Electronic Super Joy games on PC have kickass EDM soundtrack that makes playing so much more fun (the orgasm sounds also help) but on mobile the sound is overly compressed and (can’t believe I’m complaining about this but) the orgasm sounds are also muffled and inaudible.
Electronic Super Joy: Groove City is a super fun game. On PC. On mobile it is still somewhat fun but the experience is muddled by the controls occupying half the screen and the other half by blurry, pixelated, and stretched (on the iPad) graphics. Even the audio is muffled and compressed. You almost feel they give the Steam code for the desktop version as an apology for making this abysmal port. I would avoid getting the game on iPad and would only recommend if you have an iPhone. But the best thing to do would be to play it on desktop.
Pros: Insanely difficult and fun at the same time, great music
Cons: Low resolution graphics, low framerate, controls obscure half the display, stretched graphics on the iPad, low resolution audio
Download: App Store