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Emmett Reviews… No, That’s Really Stupid, No.

July 25, 2012

Today, I’m going to review AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! For the Awesome. No, that wasn’t me having an extended, vowel-focused seizure on my keyboard. It’s also not an accurate response to the question “What is your response to being tasered, while also being on really, really good weed?” No, that is the title of a game. An actual real title of an actual real game that an actual real publisher saw and approved and sold. They titled a game AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! For the Awesome.  I can’t even google this bloody thing without setting aside time in my schedule.

In any case, Screaming!!! Because it’s Cool is an indie game now available on Steam for around $10, although I got it for $2.50, because the July Steam sales are proof of a merciful and loving God, and Gabe Newell really doesn’t understand what ‘profit’ is. Anyhoo, I picked it up, and rather than playing it in big 1 or 2 hour blocks like most games, I’ve mostly used Tortured by an Inquisitor: Why Firefly Exists as a kind of warm-down period for meatier games or TV (my life is so hard). It’s a stretch, not a ten kilometre run; a quickie in a grimy toilet cubicle, not a luxurious evening in the Leather Dungeon. That sort of casual play makes sense; if there’s one word to describe A Bear Is Attacking Me: I Do This To Inspire Worship, it’s fast.

 

You see, the actual gameplay is based around falling. You are a base jumper in The Future, and your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to fall off buildings, around buildings, through holes in buildings, and occasionally into scoring plates or unsuspecting seagulls, before landing without transplanting your shin bones into your shoulders. Apart from a few ‘press button to increase score’ gimmicks, the only controls are left, right, back, forward and Fuck My Poultry, Pull Chute, Pull Chute Right Now You’re About To Die.

And let me tell you: Violent Orgasm!!! Justification for Unicycle Tricks lives up to its (actual) name. As in, it’s pretty awesome.

The art design is either breathtakingly cartoonish, or 22nd-century Chicago will be designed to resemble a whole lot of Lego buildings tossed into a Gay Pride laser disco. The visuals and original soundtrack are very techno, which absolutely works in the game’s favour, as does the game’s simple control scheme and breathtaking speed. It’s all designed to give you that moment. You know that moment, when you perfectly avoid an incoming dodgeball, where you do a reverse park in one fluid motion, where not a single grain of coke remains on the table after a snort? That moment comes every ten seconds in Incoherent Noise: This Joke is Getting Old. Every few seconds, you’re perfectly slipping through a corridor of girders, hard steel blurring past centimetres from your face. Or maybe you’re plummeting, ridiculously fast, through a spiralling cascade of neon green light and you hit a circling bird head-on for 5000 points. It makes you feel like a pro racer – well, when you don’t slam into a roof with a ruthless crackle of breaking bones. But you respawn at the top instantly, and the levels are never long enough that it becomes annoying.

 

So yeah, the core gameplay is simple, light and extremely fun. What else does it bring?

You earn ‘teeth’ with which to unlock new levels, of which there are about a Shitload. I assume this game takes place in a future where dentistry is an extremely prestigious occupation, or where everyone’s a rapper and mouth-bling contains all the world’s gold. The only problem I have with this system is that it awards you teeth based on its perception of how well you did, and not on whether you made it to the end of the level, or per a time limit or anything. This leads to the unfortunate situation where you’re riding high off the freakin’ awesome fall-flip-buzz-dodge-striking eagle shit you just pulled, and then the game gives you 1 out of 5 stars. Do not disagree with me, computer. I am the master of your existence, and if we disagree on how good I am at games, guess which one of us can be quickly uninstalled?

But anyway, for such a cheap, simplistic game, you get an awful load of stuff. A ridiculous number of levels, all with unique art design, set on Earth, in orbit, on the moon and Ganymede (the Jovian moons need more publicity) are available for you to fall through, along with plenty of different gameplay gimmicks. There’s plenty of flavour text and background noise, which is quite funny in a surrealistic kind of way. The only real complaint I have is the aforementioned Judgmental Machine, and how you often feel cheated by the game. But when a do-over is so much fun, that’s not much of a condemnation.

Wrapping up Seriously!!! I’m Done With This Gag… yeah, it’s great. A pretty simple game idea that, in practice, feels thrilling and high-budget, all wrapped up in a neat, cheap package with plenty of extras and a kickin’ soundtrack (if you live in the 90s and your name is Blayde). I don’t know, it seems like most of the games I’ve really loved this year have been low-budget indie titles or mods. Day Z, Limbo, Bastion, Braid, To the Moon, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA itself, and even the retro-style Walking Dead video game which I should really get around to reviewing. All incredible stuff that’s stuck with me way more than most of the AAA titles I’ve played. But that’s a rant for another day.

Until then, this is Emmett Ryan, encouraging you to go out and jump off very tall buildings.

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