We recently met up with the team behind 1,001 Spikes,  a title you may already be familiar with from when it was first announced late last year. It’s set to launch on the Nintendo 3DS soon, in addition to debuts across other platforms including the Wii U, PlayStation 4, PS Vita and the PC. We had a chance to check it out first hand and we’ll say this: thankfully a PR rep was there to hold our hand, because it is, as he said, “punishingly difficult.” Of course, that’s also what makes it so great.

1,001 Spikes is a retro styled platformer and the goal is simple: get a key and then make your way to the exit door to clear the level. Of course, actually doing so is much harder.

You’ll take the role of Aban Hawkins from the start, though additional characters can be unlocked on the way, and will battle against any array of obstacles including, of course, spikes, to get to the end of each level. There are more than 100 stages, and you can team up with up for four friends (on the Wii U at first, though coming to 3DS later) to get to the end of the level.

You have 1,001 lives to split, and there’s a “frenemy” aspect to the game: if you so choose, you can advance further than your teammate leaving them behind (and dead) or attack them. Friendly fire is on at all times, so you may not be meaning to do so, though there are other game modes such as “Tower of Nannar” where you’ll race your buddies to the end of the stage.

We had a ton of fun playing co-op, and honestly think that’s where the real charm of the game comes in: trying to work with friends or family members to beat each level. You’ll die a lot along the way, for sure, that’s why you have 1,001 lives to split – but there’s a great sense of satisfaction as you beat one seemingly impossible level and move on  to the next.

We’re promised that even more features are on the way toward the final release, though the company declined to provide a solid date just yet. We expect a debut in the coming months and pricing should fall between $10 and $15.