I never thought I’d really enjoy a game devoted to jumping off things, but AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! has managed to persuade me otherwise.
For those of you that haven’t heard of AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!, the main premise is that you base jump from the top of a strangely colourful skyline and plummet a few hundred feet , avoiding buildings and the like, before landing perfectly in the centre of a glowing ring and getting smothered in cheers.
It doesn’t always work that way for me.
What you are encouraged to do, as you fall, is to get as close as possible to as many buildings as you can, earning what the game calls hugs and kisses. Hugs are earned just by staying close to a solid object, these rack up pretty quickly and are a nice steady flow of points. Kisses are earned each time you fall past something new, and go hand in hand with the lovely hugs. They’re worth more points, but you’ll be getting less of them.
It all sounds easy enough, but once you’re out of the easy first levels, you need to be raking in hugs and kisses to get the necessary teeth (Essentially AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!’s in game currency) to unlock more levels. And this is also where it all goes wrong for me.
I’m monstrously cack handed when it comes to bodily awareness in video games. Each time I sneak past the train or saw blades on Team Fortress 2 I let out a silent prayer that, just this once, I have managed to avoid making myself look like a dunce. It’s the same with driving games. In AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!, however, I don’t always manage to pull this off. One errant millimetre can mean the difference between an outstanding score or an unfortunate death. Clip a building and you go pin-wheeling off in the opposite direction, almost certainly into a squishy and painful demise. You’ll be doing this a lot in AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!, and thankfully you won’t mind.
Surviving in AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! is easy, you just avoid all the buildings with your unparalleled agility and coast on into the landing circle, but you won’t get any points, teeth or babes that way, buddy. It’s a game about risks, and as such has to play up to that as best it can. Do you trust yourself enough to zig zag through the claustrophobic insides of the tower block to your left, of do you make do with hugging the outside? The former will net you more points, but may also kill you if you make one single mistake, whereas the latter is almost fool proof, but may not provide enough points to score big.
It’s a game of immediate assessment, instinct over thought. I can make it through there, I know it, no time to double check, I’m going in. Every death is your fault for overestimating yourself. Arrogance is punished, but success is divine. If you make it through the rotating neon nightmare of future Boston’s psychotic architect alive and with plenty of hugs/kisses to show for it, the feeling is pure elation. You’ll die and die and die, but eventually it will all come together and you won’t care how long it took.
AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! can be frustrating, don’t get me wrong, but if you persevere you’ll find something well worth your time. It’s a game with character, from the extra bonus points for killing birds, to the relaxing but surreal videos that describe the life of a jumper. If you’re willing to put in the time you’ll have a nice little diversion on your hands, and nothing quite matches up to that feeling when you successfully navigate yourself through the corkscrewing beams of a luminescent sculpture before popping your chute and lending perfectly.
AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! makes me want to jump off a building, which is both a triumph on its part and more than a little sinister when you come to think about it…