Fans of ScrewAttack’s Angry Video Game Nerd series know that the titular poindexter loves tearing apart punishing old school games. But what if the Nerd was stuck inside a game like the ones he plays on the show? Developer FreakZone Games has set out to answer that question. During a hands-on session with the game I rode a shark through lava, flew on Silver Surfer’s board, and evaded hazardous phalluses.

AVGN Adventures harken back to the 8-bit days, packed with instant-death lasers, disappearing platforms, and bottomless pits. FreakZone aims to punish players with challenges borrowed from games like Mega Man, Castlevania, and other difficult classics. One “power-up” the Nerd gains is the almost useless rock from the Friday the 13th NES game. AVGN Adventures is packed with tons of nods to gaming’s past and ScrewAttack’s series complete with potty mouthed insults from the Nerd about the game he’s trapped in.

Speaking of nods to the show, the Nerd is joined by other playable characters from the show. A guitar-toting skeleton shoots wavy, Fester’s Quest-like beams, another packs Luigi’s floaty jump and a lightsaber, and a fecal friend with a double jump ability. The Nerd rescues these friends throughout the game, leading to a Castlevania III: Curse of Dracula mechanic that allows players to tackle challenges how they please. Bullsh*t Man’s double jump is especially useful for avoiding the one hit kill blocks scattered throughout the game.

I used a 360 controller while playing, and it felt great. Leaping across narrow platforms and gunning down enemies feels similar to the Mega Man series. The tight and reliable controls make dodging traps by mere pixels feel good. 

Whether you’re a fan of the show or not, AVGN Adventures has some hilarious and memorable moments. The Nerd blasts a shark swimming in lava with his NES Zapper and rides on its back, runs past pixelated damsels inspired by perverted Atari 2600 games, and snowboards down a mountain on Santa’s bloody corpse. The art style is as random and sometimes generic as the games it’s inspired by, but the levels I played ooze nostalgia. The game hits familiar video game tropes like haunted mansions, fire levels, snow levels, and more.

Games like Super Meat Boy, Mega Man 9, and Spelunky have taken the spotlight in recent years thanks to their emphasis on challenging old-school gameplay. AVGN Adventures continues this tradition of unforgiving action while mixing in unobtrusive references to the show. Masochists and AVGN enthusiasts should check out this downloadable when it hits Steam later this month.