Above Average Guy Review
Developer/Publisher: Chris Jeff / Armor Games
Introduction: Above Average Guy is a platformer with puzzle mechanics created by Chris Jeff and sponsored by Armor Games. It is comparable in many ways to the previously reviewed game This is the Only Level. While it’s primary mechanic isn’t that it only has one level like This is the Only Level, each level is a tiny level with a varying primary mechanic, and take at most 20 seconds to kill you. This mechanic can vary anywhere from invisible platforms to utilizing the mouse to move boxes to having to complete the level before a set of saw blades moving across the level kills you.
Gameplay: The controls of the game are very simple, using WASD and the arrow keys for movement. Besides that, some mouse and individual keys are introduced in various levels, usually as a one time thing to beat that specific level. One of the biggest issue with the controls is they tend to feel floaty, as the physics of the game are a little off, but luckily not game-breakingly so. A typical playthrough of Above Average Guy takes about 10 minutes. Some of the levels can get annoying at times, but luckily, the game includes a skip feature, in case a level gets too infuriating. The penalty for skipping a level is harsh, as it should be for a score attack game. In addition to skipping, there’s a hint system, where at a lesser penalty, the game ‘host’ will tell the player a hint of how to beat the level. Above Average Guy is a score attack game, with a final rating and score being given after each run through the levels, based on the number of failures, deaths, and the total time it took the play to finish.
Above Average Guy‘s difficulty tends to be widely varying from level to level, which is a bit of an issue. Even the boss fight at the end (spoiler), which has multiple stages, has some stages that are insanely easy, and some middle stages that are very difficult. In addition, a lot of the difficulty are less difficult because of the actual skill required and more difficult because of something like invisible blocks and such that is more annoying than actually challenging. The levels are usually challenging enough to make them interesting, but not too challenging. In addition, if a level becomes too difficult for the player, they can always choose to get a hint or skip the level entirely, in return for an appropriate penalty.
Graphics & Sound: Overall, the graphics and audio of Above Average Guy are quite good and fit the game well. The graphics are generally very cute, with the characters being rendered in a somewhat Japanese cartoon style, helping to solidify to the player the idea that the character is in a Japanese game show. The biggest issue with the graphics of this game is that the overall resolution of the game feels too small. The game could easily be 1.5 times the resolution that it is, and it would even help the gameplay, as the bigger sprites would make the platforming easier. The music has a bit of an asian feel to it, with the title music opening up with a very sitar-sounding instrument. In addition, the music is fast paced and up beat, befitting the quick pace and cute style of the game and graphics. There aren’t many sound effects other than the music, and it might be nice to have some death or jump sounds, but it doesn’t hurt.
Verdict: Above Average Guyis of a relatively unexplored subset of the platforming genre. The uniqueness of this kind of game from other platformers lies in the short levels combined with the individual level mechanics. In addition, this game has a final boss level that a lot of these shorter platformers don’t tend to include. The game isn’t really ground-breaking in any way, but it’s still plenty of fun to play and feels quite original, what with the combination of cartoony aesthetics and the relatively unique primary game mechanics. I would recommend giving this game a try if you like platformers, particularly if you like games like This is the Only Level. Above Average Guy deserves 4 out of 6.