1001 Spikes Review – Bone Crunchingly Good

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There comes a time in every gamers life that he or she thinks that they are pretty awesome when it comes to gaming.  They may have beaten a few games on the hardest difficulty setting, or maybe got all of the trophies and achievement points in games that other gamers think are impossible, but you can always count on games like 1001 Spikes to knock those jerks and their swollen ego’s down a few pegs.

Developed by Nicalis and 8Bits Fanatics, 1001 Spikes may just be the greatest endurance challenge ever made…or at least one of the most infuriating. Still interested? Or maybe you’re just incredibly masochistic? Read on for more about how I used to not have anger problems!

If you’re still with me, I was once one of the gamers I spoke of earlier on.  I thought I could take on just about any challenge, beat any boss, and brag to everyone about it, and then I played Contra for the NES. It knocked me down, many, many times. That game made me angrier than most things could and made me realize: I am not the ultimate gamer, and none of us are the absolute best.

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Despite knowing this, I calmly started up my Vita and began to play 1001 Spikes, believing that with my wisdom of knowing that I wasn’t the lord of all things challenging videogames. I hoped that I might just be able to keep my cool while playing, and that I would reach the end of the game without losing all of my 1001 lives.

Sadly, I was wrong – so very, very wrong.  1001 Spikes is an action platforming game where you need careful timing and some trial and error in order to best its many stages, each one more difficult than the one that came before it in a quest to find the ultimate treasure.

The main character of the game is Aban Hawkins, who enters an ancient temple in order to stick it to his jerk of a dad once and for all, only to find out that he’s trapped himself in a place that might as well be the temple of platforming hell, and that he won’t be getting out at all if you don’t carefully and quickly guide him to safety.

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Each level consists of Aban braving increasingly deadly traps in an attempt to find each levels exit key and make it to the safety of the exit door in order to advance to the next stage. There are over 60 levels in the main quest to play, each of which sporting a number of secret paths and tricks to be found.

You can find 30 collectible golden skulls, which when found grant one extra life, as well as an optional speed run clock to see which one of your friends really is the fastest at beating a level. It’s needless to say, this game really has a lot of meat to sink your masochistic teeth into.

If that wasn’t enough, there are also many unlockable characters, featuring cameos such as Commander Video from the Bit.Trip games and Curly Brace from Cave Story, among many others. On top of that, there are extra unlockable colors for Aban so you can personalize him a bit more.

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There are also unlockable extra modes, which add more diverse levels to play like an interesting upwards scrolling adventure and the “Lost” levels which are sort of tweaked versions of levels already in the game. These alternate modes also come with interesting alternate versions of Aban that have different abilities and appearances than his normal Indian Jones type look.

In game there are multiplayer modes too – just not in the Playstation Vita version of the game. This is kind of depressing because they’re actually a lot of fun and great with four players, and I just know that it would be even more fun to play on the go.  On the bright side though, if you’re planning to buy the game for Vita or PS4, it is cross buy, so if you buy it on one system, you’ll get it for the other for free!

There isn’t cross save however, so keep that in mind when swapping between console and handheld.  For the trophy buffs out there, the two versions of the game also have separate trophy lists, so you can unlock the trophies you painstakingly got on Vita on PS4 and vice versa.

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Once again, Nicalis have a gem on their hands.  The game is filled with traps and precision-timed action, and even though I was watching my cache of lives dwindle away to nothing, and I knew I was about to snap my Vita in half and stomp on it until nothing of it remained.

I couldn’t help myself from trying again to make it to the end of the levels, because in all honesty, beating them made me feel more badass than most games ever have.  Truth be told, the main reason why you should play 1001 Spikes isn’t for the bragging rights, or even to be better than everyone else.

This game, to me, is about proving to yourself that even the small victories count, and no matter how many times you fail, you shouldn’t snap your game system in half. It’s just not worth the trouble. Plus, it was expensive, and you know it.

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1001 Spikes was reviewed on Playstation Vita using a code provided by Nicalis. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s reviews/ethics policy here.

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I've been playing games since i was six years old, and they are a huge part of my life. I play every genre I can get my hands on, and I'm not afraid to admit that I'm addicted.

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