A couple years ago developer 8bit Fanatics released Aban Hawkings and the 1,000 Spikes on the Xbox 360’s Indie Marketplace. The punishing retro platformer is getting a second life on the Vita, PS3, and PS4 thanks to Cave Story developer Nicalis. We tested out the game’s new co-op mode during a Sony event at PAX 2013.

Living up to its name, 1001 Spikes is filled with loads of pointy hazards, along with deadly scorpions, poisonous blow darts, and more. Players have 1,001 lives to get through the games gauntlet of stages, and each death starts you back at the beginning of your current stage. Two jumps of varying heights are available, allowing you to cross large gaps or barely dodge overhead traps depending on the situation. An unlimited supply of daggers are at your disposal for dispatching enemies lurking the 8-bit ruins. The controls are tight and pixel-perfect, leaving the blame for mistakes on you rather than the game. Playing on the PS4 I encountered a few input lag issues, but the representative on hand said the version I was playing wasn’t final.

The action goes from difficult to chaotic when taking three friends along for the ride. The game Spikes supports up to four players in competitive and cooperative modes. I checked out the co-op campaign mode. Playing the tough-as-nails platformer with three friends is entertaining, but it’s easy to get distracted by the other characters running around the already busy levels. However, having extra sets of eyes on the traps makes memorizing their locations easier. Just like other co-op platformers like New Super Mario Bros. Wii or Rayman Origins, the action gets more unwieldy as more friends are invited. Your friends also share from the communal pool of 1001 lives, meaning that your unskilled friends could be the death of you.

1001 Spikes is poised to join the likes of challenging retro-style games like Super Meat Boy and Spelunky. This endearing yet sadistic platformer should be a great addition to Sony’s plethora of indie titles. Give 1001 Spikes a look when it releases later this year on Vita, PS3, and PS4.