Title: 1001 Spikes
Platform: Steam, PC, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, 3DS, Xbox One

Reviewed on: Windows
Genre: Platformer, Puzzle
Players: Single player, 1-4 local Co OP, 1-4 local versus

Written by Whistler 26th June 2014

It can be said that Mario back in the day was the pinnacle origin point for 2d platformers and games like Super Meat Boy showed just how that the genre is still alive and kicking, kicking you in the teeth that is; in a loving way of course. After Super Meat Boy and I Wanna Be The Guy had passed we all thought our controllers were safe from the brutal fits brought on by those games, well the restraining order is needed once more with the guys that brought you Cave Story, Nicalis’s throw back to NES style platforming, 1001 Spikes along with its tagline ‘The Temple of the Dead Mourns the Living’ (a nice way of saying prepare to die noob).

Our tale is of one Aban Hawkins, who while being son to a wealthy archaeologist is left in the dirt to fend for himself; one day upon hearing of his douchebag father’s disappearance he his handed a letter containing a map to the ancient door of Poko-Mum and the fabled treasures said to lie within.

Partly to prove himself and mostly in hopes of finding his father and kicking his ass, our young Indiana Jon- *cough* I mean, our young Aban Hawkins takes it upon himself to challenge the trials of 1001 spikes.

As you make your first steps into the ruins untouched by civilization and painted in the left overs of other would-be-adventurers you’ll notice you start off with a generous 1001 lives; you will then quickly discover how little that is. Straight up 1001 spikes is a brutal platformer that will have you crying, laughing and occasionally a combination of the two as you combine all your efforts into precise actions, exact timings and copious amounts of luck to make your way to victory (well to the first few levels at least).

Following the trend Super Meat Boy set, 1001 spikes will see you dying, more frequently than you’ll admit as you attempt to survive the deadly gauntlets filled with spikes, pressure sensitive panels, flamethrowers, falling blocks, scorpions and Hollywood’s infamous cliché, poison blow darts.

With only a jump, high jump and dagger throw as the only tools at your disposal you will have to analyse, scrutinize and brave you’re way through the story modes 60+ uniquely crafted gems of absurd torture and numbing delight.

1001 delivers a very terrifying yet enjoyable experience as you progress though each level (losing upwards of 50 lives each time if you’re lucky) going through an admittedly abusive learning period; however 1001 spikes isn’t just a platformer with skull crushing difficulty, instead it utilizes a very clever level design where each trap has its own behaviour that will have players (and their fellow guinea pigs) repeatedly rethinking how they approach each assault course within an assault course while keeping their eyes on the prize the key, and it’s corresponding exit.

After several deaths along with the feeling the deaths of a thousand poor sods you will feel the muscle memory ingrained into your actions as the process turns from scrutinizing to performing that pixel precision needed to succeed. It’s a clever sensation fed to us that has you coming back for one more go (one hundred more goes more like it), once you crack the puzzle completing the level becomes an addictive adrenaline pumping challenge that promotes skill that offers reward along with a sense of achievement knowing you finished the level knowing it was cause you mastered it.

Not smashing controllers fast enough, sick of blaming yourself for dying?

Not to threat as 1001 spikes offers a drop in/out 4 player local Co Op so you can die, together;

Oddly enough this does not make the game any less challenging than it was (in fact it makes it harder in a lot of cases) it does however make the experience all the more enjoyable and is in fact one of the most gut wrenchingly hilarious games I’ve had the pleasure of playing with friends in a long time.

While it makes certain scenarios harder the enjoyment from planning together brings about some very organic cooperative excitement like that seen in Spelunky, or even those moments when one or two members start to get a bit vindictive it doesn’t grief the overall experience and can in fact enhance it has you blow of some steam (and some lives in the process admittedly).
If you’re sick of getting each other killed accidently you can also head to the Mario bros-esque mini game The Golden Vase where the aim is to get the most coins from in each level whilst avoiding several deadly traps and each other.

Through each level in the story mode you’ll notice that there is a golden skull placed in each level, while at first they seem to offer nothing more than an extra life (which you’ll probably lose the second you grab it) once enough are collected you will start to unlock various characters and modes forcing you to enjoy those levels all over again if you didn’t pick any skulls up.
Each unlockable character performs somewhat differently from each other like Tina, Aban’s sister who is able to cling to walls, or the Tempura can double jump with his submachine gun. It really does offer a whole new experience playing through levels as different characters however for player one to play as one of them means you have to start their own campaign through the same levels which does make it a bit repetitive; you can have your buddies bring these characters along with them though which makes Co Op all the more enjoyable and far less disorientating (trying to pay attention to which Aban is yours with four players is hell for the eyes).

Along with a pleasing art style and musical aesthetic that would find itself right at home on the NES,

1001 Spikes is a brutal platformer, but is a rewarding one for those willing to dive right in.

For those who were fans of Super Meat Boy will find themselves right at home with this game and even the casuals from Super Mario Bros. might latch onto it if they can get over the difficulty curve; in the end Nicalis’ 1001 Spikes has so far gave me nine hours of pure enjoyment (and occasionally fits of rage) both playing on my own and with friends where I’ve barely scratched the surface.
The game offers far more content than it lets on that will literally have you drowning (lovingly) in hours of replayability that only suffers from the lack of an online multiplayer.



Clever level design,

Genuinely enjoyable couch Co Op gameplay,

Variety of modes to unlock,

Addictive and balanced.


Somewhat brutal difficulty curves,

Can get quiet frustrating,

Doesn’t come with protection for your controller.

Final Verdict,
1001 Spikes easily scores a 1001/10.

Written by,


Whistler Morbid        Play Morbid Play Morbid Play Morbid Play - Articles Morbid Play -  Reviews Morbid Play - Staff