Angry Video Game Nerd Adventures is at base a typical "very hard" platformer, not nearly hard enough to qualify as Platform Hell (I was able to beat three levels without trouble, and got most of the way through a fourth). It has standard indie-pixel graphics (which is to say, visually appealing, but much more pixelized than actual 8-bit games were). The controls are pretty solid, there are multiple characters you can rescue and then switch between mid-level, and a decent number of powerups and items.
The connection to the AVGN consists primarily of references; while there's not actually that much original humor in the game, there are plenty of times you'll be able to say "oh, yeah, I remember the episode where the Nerd made that joke." The game does contain the Nerd's trademark profanity (throughout the game's dialogue and randomly generated phrases upon death). It doesn't, however, contain much for the Nerd to really complain about; you'll die constantly, but still end up making steady forward progress.
Most of the game's difficulty comes from a single source: death blocks. Touch a death block and it's instant death, like the spikes in Mega Man. These things are EVERYWHERE -- lining the bottom of pits, lining the ceiling of hallways, in vertical rows you have to springboard over, in horizontal rows you have to ride conveyances over. Some of them just flat-out block the way, and fade in and out of existence; you have to dash from safe spot to safe spot while they're gone. Timing this @#$@ is absolutely vital.
So I can recommend this game as a standard hard platformer that'll take most good players 1-2 weeks to finish. If you aren't confident in your platforming skills this is NOT the place to try and hone them. You don't have to be familiar with the Nerd's oeuvre to understand it, but it'll seem pretty random and surreal if you aren't.
Warning: One level in particular, the one based on the Nerd's "Atari Porn" review episode, is absolutely nauseating. Seriously, at certain points I honestly felt like I was going to throw up. Play that level on an empty stomach or you may react to it the way the Nerd reacted to E.T. II in the movie.