1001 Spikes
| 1001 Spikes

Some games go out of their way to deny the player progress. Others are so difficult that the majority of players just give up and go home.

1001 Spikes does both of these things, and that's why I hate it so much.

Hair-pulling rage…

I hate the rows of pointy death machines that come out of the ground the second I step over them.

I hate the Mayan heads that shoot daggers at me. And I hate the way they always seem to activate at the most inopportune moments.

I hate the little scorpions that always seem to be at the right place at the right time. I hate the way they avoid my knives and kill me instantly.

But most of all I hate that when I do end up butchered by one of the game's evil traps, I'm sent back to the start of the level.

Which means I have to pass all of the obstacles and monsters that I've already conquered all over again.

…soothed by a retro charm

But there's more to 1001 Spikes than hatred. This is an insanely challenging little game that tests you every time you pick it up.

You only get 1000 tries to get through the entire game, so you know right off the bat you're in for an incredibly tough time.

On top of that there's an awesome 8-bit soundtrack, which is reason enough to keep coming back for more.

And even though there are plenty of times you'll want to throw your Vita across the room, 1001 Spikes has a special something that keeps the console in your hand and your eyes on the screen.

Glory Days

The game is a retro romp through a forgotten age when games were unforgiving and the slightest misstep would cost you a precious life.

It's a reminder of how things used to be. It focuses on solid gameplay and challenging obstacles instead of shoot this and objective that.

Each level's goal is quite simple: find a key and take it to the door that leads you out. It's the damn traps that complicate things.

Some of these are downright malicious. They feel like they've been placed solely to take away one of those 1000 lives. Which of course they have.

Traps like that are the reason I lost 60 lives in the first half of a single level. And that was at the beginning of the game.

1001 Spikes is likely to be divisive. Some will hate the game's wicked difficulty curve and give up, while others will love the sharpness of the game and dive right in.

The challenges that 1001 Spikes throws in your face haven't been seen since the glory days of the NES. And for that reason alone everyone should give it a go.

1001 Spikes

1001 Spikes will frustrate, but its retro difficulty is worthy of a seasoned player's time
Jason Fanelli
Jason Fanelli
Jason is a freelance writer based in the US.