Friday, December 20, 2013

Console Spotlight: A-Men 2

Title: A-Men 2
Developer: Bloober Team
Platforms: PS3, PS Vita
Price: $9.99
A-Men 2 is described as a game that's "easy to play but still hard to master" and I couldn't agree more. It's a precision puzzle platformer; however I don't mean precision in the sense of pixel-perfect jumps and trap avoidance, but rather precise timing and strategic use of your characters' abilities.
A-Men 2 is first and foremost a puzzle game. You have a number of different characters at your disposal, each with their own abilities ranging from disguising yourself as the enemy and placing route-altering signs, equipping a rifle that can shoot enemies, building ladders and fixing machinery, to using a grapple hook. While there is platforming involving, switching between characters at the opportune moments, using their abilities at the proper times to assist other characters or kill enemies constitute the core of the game. However that proper timing is where I found the game also frustrates. It's satisfying to finally succeed and reach the waiting evacuation chopper, but to get to that point requires an exorbitant amount of trial and error. There's no flexibility in your attempts; there's one correct way to trigger the various switches and machines ans use your characters, at the right places, at the right times, and until you get that sequence down, you'll only be making frustratingly small intervals of progress at a time. It doesn't help that you can only save at certain checkpoints in each level and dying before them requires you to restart from the beginning.
If going solo isn't your style, you can also tackle A-Men 2 cooperatively with three other players. A-Men 2 may have charming visuals, a humorous self-aware narrative with characters who know they're NPCs in a game, and the mechanics themselves are fun, but the focus on trial and error leads to frustration more often than not. You can purchase A-Men 2 on the Playstation Store.

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