If Super Meat Boy, had been redesigned and released for the original Game Boy, you’d have Awesome Pea. An ambitious attempt at capturing the enjoyable frustration that the platformer genre can offer.
Does Awesome Pea have what it takes to stand tall amongst the other platforming greats? I think so.
As with most platformers, Awesome Pea’s concept is pretty simple: You must travel through each level, collecting coins and jewels, before reaching the finish – but Awesome Pea, lulls you into a false sense of security. From the outside, Awesome Pea seems like a cute, retro style platformer. But in reality, Awesome Pea is a true test of skill and perseverance designed by Satan himself, as you traverse across traps and pitfalls that require an almost god-tier level of dexterity and determination.
Just to make things even harder, much like Super Meat Boy and Geometry Dash, Awesome Pea doesn’t include checkpoints – make each painstaking mistake or mistimed jump that much more painful, especially when the ending is in sight. But the lack of checkpoints and the increasing difficulty of each level makes each successful run even more satisfying.
And that’s the beauty of these types of games. Yes, they are incredibly frustrating and at times, make you truly think about why you keep throwing yourself at the same sawblade. But, seeing that victory screen and watching the points roll in, makes it all worth it…that is until you start the next level.
As mentioned before, Awesome Pea is clearly inspired by the games of yesteryear. The graphics are almost directly taken from Game Boy classics, and the retro-style music is infectiously brilliant. The only problem and this is perhaps more a criticism of this type of style, is that much of the music and artwork can become repetitive.
Although most levels can be completed in under a minute, you’ll find yourself attempting the same level over and over due to its difficulty. This means you’ll more than likely listen to the same song loop around endlessly, or watch the same trees whiz past you as you make your way to the ending. At least in my case, this probably adds to the frustration. The music at first is perfectly nostalgic, but after my 30th attempt at a level, it becomes grinding and annoying (funnily enough, it makes me want to complete each level even more).
Awesome Pea is definitely not a game for the faint of heart. It’s best compared to the levels in Mario Sunshine where you lost FLUDD – On the outside, it seems easy and charming, but it’ll soon have you break down in tears out of frustration…but that’s what makes it great.
If you love torturing yourself with incredibly difficult games, Awesome Pea will definitely be up your street. If you’re looking for a calmer and more collected platformer, you’re better looking elsewhere.
*Code kindly provided by the publisher for review*