1001 Spikes Review — Please spike my drink, this game is insanely hard.

Are you the type of gamer that craves a challenge and is sick of how easy and streamlined games have become? Are you the kind of person that does not rely on save states or checkpoints every two seconds to help you beat a game? Then 1001 Spikes is for you. 1001 Spikes is an incredibly difficult throwback to 8-bit platform games from the NES era.

You play the role of Indiana Jones doppelganger Aban Hawkins, a treasure hunter who must traverse through an ancient, trap-filled temple with 1001 lives in search of his father Jim Hawkins. Starting the game with so many lives may make 1001 Spikes seem like an easy game with plenty of room for the player to make mistakes, when in reality you will need 1001 lives and most likely more. This game is really hard and it will punish you. The game does not care how far you have reached or how many lives you have lost, you will be punished over and over until you memorize and beat the entire level in one fell swoop.

The objective of the game is very simple, grab the key and make it to the exit. Each stage has an optional golden skull to collect which grants an extra life. Collecting enough skulls allow you access to more characters and costumes. These characters have their own special ability like the ability to fly, double jump and more. Abilities that will no doubt help you on your adventure.

What makes this game truly shine is the game-play and how cleverly designed each of the stages are. After dying hundreds of times in the same spot, the game forced me to think of another way to beat the stage. Each stage is full to the brim with traps and hazards that will take you down in one hit sending you back to the beginning of the level. Yes, that means no checkpoints.

Another aspect of the game I loved was the presentation of the game. For example, the stunning series of vibrant backdrops in each stage and the catchy 8 bit melodies that recaptures the melodious sounds of the 8-bit gaming era. I also really enjoyed the opening cut-scenes between the game’s characters, a nice throwback reference to the groundbreaking cut-scenes in the Ninja Gaiden series.

There are also three other game modes which can be unlocked by playing through 1001 Spike’s story mode. Golden Vase, The Tower of Nannar and Lost Levels. Golden Vase plays almost exactly like the original Mario Bros where you must collect coins that pour out of the golden vase.The Tower of Nannar is a vertical scrolling mode where the player must reach the top of each stage just like in the NES game Ice Climbers. The Lost levels is more an expansion of the original game with more challenging levels and less lives (100 to be exact) The coins collected from each mode can be used to unlock extra characters and skins.

If you are struggling with a certain stage, there is an option to skip the stage. Personally I think this is a pointless feature considering 1001 Spikes was made with brutal difficulty in mind. Being given the option to skip a hard stage ruins the fun of the game and the satisfaction in beating a challenging stage. On top of that, you cannot beat the Gold Temple until you beat every single stage, including the ones you skipped in the first place. Once you “finish” the game, you will be taken to a brand new world called “Antarctica” which serves as the secret world in this game.

Overall, 1001 Spikes is a really, really hard but incredibly fun, well designed game that will force you to play through the game carefully whilst avoiding dangerous traps at every turn. If 1001 spikes teaches you anything, it’s “fail to prepare, prepare to fail” I highly recommend this game and give it a 9/10.

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