As the Angry Video Game Nerd might tell you, the context of a system can matter a great deal toward the quality of the game. A title that isn't so bad on one console can be a putrid pukefest on another. Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures, which hit Nintendo first on the Wii U, has shifted to the portable 3DS. So what can you expect? A similarly good platformer, actually, and maybe even a few reasons why the 3DS provides the superior experience - in context.
The portable version of AVGN Adventures is mostly a straight-up copy of its big console brother. You'll face the same trope-inspired levels, the same addictively challenging deathfest of obstacles, and the same juvenile yet lewd humour that gives these games an M rating. The dual-screen system is also present in both, of course, with the bottom screen of the 3DS serving as the helpful, touch-accessible inventory. If you haven't read our review of the Wii U version, it's worth checking for further details on all these elements.
Instead, let's talk about what makes the 3DS AVGN Adventures stand out a bit more. It's not the controls; both versions have a firm handle there. It's also not the excellent throwback soundtrack, which is presented well through the handheld's speakers but might very well might sound better on your TV, depending on its quality. No, what can make the 3DS version of AVGN feel just that bit better comes down to its look.
The Nerd on Wii U looks very nice, certainly; yet maybe almost too nice now that there's something else to compare it to. Its retro pixelated graphics are sharp and crystal clear on an HDTV, but that's not how the games it parodies originally appeared, is it? Standard definition is the dimension of classic gaming purity, and the 3DS - while certainly having a higher quality than an '80s RCA TV with RF switch - presents AVGN Adventures with just enough of a softness to make it feel more retro. It adds this intangible element that those who grew up with older systems could admire.
But wait, what about the 3D? That's a newer element! Well mostly, yes. AVGN Adventures does utilize 3D capabilities, but even this seems to give a small nod toward classic games. The standard trick of providing some depth to the background is used, but pieces of exploding enemies will also fly outward toward the screen. It's not really embellished and won't get in the way of anything, but it possesses a certain cheesiness that feels like exactly what a game from the '90s would do when trying pseudo-3D. It's like throwing Foot Clan soldiers into the screen in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV. It's a bit dopey, but it still feels right.
Both versions of AVGN Adventures are solidly constructed titles that fans of the brand and challenging platformers will likely love, but those small, loving touches on the 3DS version feel all that more attuned with the spirit of retro and the brand of the Nerd, giving it an edge if those things matter to you. Perhaps there's some nostalgic bias at play here, and those who prize sharper graphics and bigger screens aren't in the wrong at all. If you want to be taken back to the past as much as possible, though, this one delivers more.