So you want to be the guy, huh? Well...
In the Year 200X
I WANNA BE THE GUY: The Movie: The Game (I Wanna Be The Guy or IWBTG for short) is a computer game, starring The Kid, on his monumental quest to become The Guy, by killing him. This is accomplished by traveling all across the world, dodging a myriad traps, defeating eight grueling bosses, retrieving six fancy glowing red orbs, and then progressing through the Castle of The Guy. His only weapons are his double jump, his measly peashooter, and his boundless charisma and endurance.
Also, The Guy is The Kid's father, and The Kid's mission to become The Guy involves killing his own father, as The Guy killed his own father before him.
I have no remorse in spoiling the plot of this video game for you, as the likelihood you will ever be able to experience it for yourself is almost certainly zero.
On his 15th birthday...
Think of any game you've ever played. Preferably one of the older retro ones, with the big pixels and the amazing music and the insurmountable difficulty that you somehow managed to surmount later anyway. IWBTG is all of these, except without that last "you somehow manage to beat it" part. And it's not just blatantly impossible, as in unclearable: it can be cleared, you can be just sure as all hell that you'll never do so.
Every obstacle, every enemy, every jump is co-ordinated and calibrated to perfection, with one goal in mind: making you die. Fruit will disobey the laws of gravity. Enemies will not be what you expect, even when you think you're prepared for their unexpectedness. Each and every part of the landscape is out to get you, and things will be glaringly obvious just a minute too late. Shame on you for not noticing, your punishment is to do all of that again.
The death riff will become the leitmotif of your nightmares.
A child left home...
The Kid, the player character of this torturous game, at first appears to be a cheap Megaman edit, down to having the exact same sort of little gun in hand, as he prepares to take on the big bad world. But he is much deeper than that. There is a small cape, a toyish pistol, and a large grin on his face, as though this is just another big adventure to go on. As his begins his quest, wanting so hard to be The Guy, you fail to notice a large
apple cherry DELICIOUS FRUIT falling from a tree above, and it lands on him, crushing him instantly. An enormous splatter of blood and giblets spews forth, coating the landscape in specks and pools of bright red. You hastily follow the on-screen instructions to clean up the mess and begin afresh—The Kid is right back where you found him, still grinning, still bouncing in place. But the stage has been set. You know the consequences: a violent explosion of death.
You somehow find the courage to press onwards, through numerous missteps and misguided attempts to advance. The pellets of the Very Small Gun, which was handed down to The Kid from Grandfather The Guy, surprisingly do damage to many of your enemies, but it's still repaid in kind with every time you steer the Kid towards one of his many, many demises. You are still troubled by the plight of The Kid: how many times has he died—how many times have you killed him—to get this far? How many more until the end of it? Will you even stick it out to the end? Has it all been in vain?
But he always smiles. Is he taunting you? Is he standing defiant and cold-hearted in the face of endless death and adversity? The world may never know.
On his dangerous and epic quest
IWBTG is founded on the idea of subverting expectation. The fundamental bit of information you glean from the Pavlovian conditioning you are exposed to whilst playing this game can be summed up as "LITERALLY EVERYTHING IS OUT TO GET YOU". As much as it's much more interesting it you find this out on your own, some of the more memorable 'learning experiences' in this game are: DELICIOUS FRUIT kills you when it fall on you, you are too heavy to stand on small clouds, old-style cannons are also equipped with powerful lasers, you should never ever jump on couches, and yes, you're going to have to do all of that again except faster. Even when you think you've figured out a gimmick, its next instance will throw you another curveball, and you'll die again. Or it'll be used in tandem with something else, and you will consider yourself doubly screwed.
Some would call this style of game "trial-and-error", also known as the "exceedingly shitty" genre. And they would be entirely correct. The entirety of IWBTG is these traps, gotchas, and nonsensical shenanigans that invite either play by repeated death and rote memorization, or inhuman cautiousness, neither of which is better suited to the game than the other. Any groan, moan, or whine you emit truly is something that you've brought upon yourself, and you have no right to complain about the difficulty of one of the hardest games in the world. But to some—the masochists among you know what I'm talking about—this sort of game is fun, in a way. It's partly the challenge, to say you've beaten it, and partly the morbid fascination of what other sorts of obstacle the creator has conjured up and immortalized into this game, but you'd be damned if you're not going to find out firsthand what happens when you beat the game, even if it takes you the rest of your life.
But there is a bright side to all of this. This game is a tribute to the fun and difficult retro games of yore, albeit a very sick and twisted one. References to anything and everything from both that era and our more recent one, from the music, to the backgrounds, to the enemies, can be found in IWBTG. They might be played straight or ironically, but regardless, they invoke some sense of nostalgia as you "play" through this game, and it can help alleviate the atmosphere frustration.
To become The Guy!
The picture looks bleak. If this game is so hard, how am I expected to beat it?! Well, there are save points littered about the landscape, for you to save at, so as to continue your adventure later. And you will learn to love and cherish every save point, in much the same way that a Chilean miner loves and cherishes sunlight or the protagonist of Hatchet loves and cherishes food and survival tools. For they happen rare enough that you might actually see an average of only one per sitting, advancing to the next one only once in a blue moon.
And there are difficulty levels, too! Four of them! Each higher one does not make the game itself harder in any way, it just has less save points. The "Normal" difficulty, the smallest of the available four, places a girly bow on The Kid's head and calls him a wuss at every save point not available on "Hard", i.e, the equivalent of the normal difficulty level in any other game. The final difficulty level, "Impossible", only has one save point throughout the entire game, right at the end, though if you're good enough to play on "Impossible" regularly, you probably don't need that as much as you need friends or a social life.
In the interest of full disclosure, the game has been cleared by real human people. Even on Impossible. Recordings of runs are available on YouTube and other video sharing sites. So it's not like this game is actually impossible. But, to give you some sense of how hard it is, when the first person to clear it on Impossible announced that he had done so, the creator actually called bullshit on him, and proof of completion had to be presented. (It has since been TAS'd, too, but despite how cool that usually looks, it's not as impressive as when you know a human was behind the keyboard.)
PRESS 'R' TO TRY AGAIN
I Wanna Be The Guy is a platforming game set in a Metroidvania-esque world, featuring endless traps, annoying enemies, and all-but-innovative challenges thrown at you without remorse. It is difficult. It is made by Kayin, commonly known as one of the most sadistic people on the face of the Earth, who wholeheartedly supports the description of the masterpiece as "a sardonic love-letter to the halcyon days of early American videogaming, packaged as a nail-rippingly difficult platform adventure." You can find IWBTG at Kayin's website—along with a whole host of other items of interest, like an FAQ, maps, a forum, and more—but if you know what's good for you, you won't.
10/10 stars, would not play again.