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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Sony Computer Entertainment
Developed By: Bloober Team
Genre: Puzzle
Players: 1-4
Rated: E10+ (Fantasy Violence, Mild Language)
Release Date: November 5, 2013
Screenshots: Link
PlayStation Network: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

November 26, 2013 – A-Men 2 is developer Bloober Team’s second outing in a series that harkens back to the days where games challenged the players through a series of thoughtfully planned out puzzles. These puzzles challenge your mental aptitude and patience to the point when you finally solve said puzzle, you feel a real sense of accomplishment. Stray too far down the difficult path and you could end up with a game very few will complete and want to. Stray too far down the straightforward path and you end up with a game that’s easy to beat and lacks substance to keep people wanting to come back for more. It’s that very fine line that separates great titles from ones that simply look good on paper, which brings us to A-Men 2; a game that attempts to walk that very fine line.

A-Men 2; while sharing similarities to games that have come before it; tries to define itself through a series of gameplay mechanics that help you traverse the world, while also testing your ability to solve puzzles. There are five characters that comprise your “A-Men” team, which are pre-selected and you must rely on to get you from the starting point to the helipad. Each character has their own unique set of skills that are important to the overall goal of your mission. While the thought of having to control five different characters seems taxing, you are only actually controlling them one at a time; with the ability to switch to other A-Men when deemed necessary.

The #1 tool in a great puzzle solver’s arsenal is the ability to survey the challenge; which is essential to getting through A-Men 2. At any time you can survey the entire level; locating traps, learning patrol guard routes, figuring out which items within the world you can actually interact with, etc. You will often find yourself traversing a certain part of the level, having to stop to survey the area up ahead, before continuing on your mission. This is not to say you have to survey the level. You can opt to go at it straightforward, but often enough you will find yourself stuck in certain areas or dying a lot. As the levels ramp up in difficulty, you will come across Saving Machines that allow you to save your in-game progress at various points within the level. This will allow you to set your one checkpoint on said level, resulting in not having to complete certain parts over again as with a traditional save point.

What I found interesting about A-Men 2; not having played the first installment, is that thinking outside the box is helpful in solving some of these puzzles. There were several times that I took the layout of the level for what it was, and didn’t think to try and traverse it differently. I often spent upwards of 30-40 minutes trying to complete a level; something of which can be done within three minutes. To some this can be very frustrating; but to me, I took it as a challenge to think different and to approach certain situations differently. While I still haven’t hit the three minute mark to clear a level, I have gotten much better at the game, to the point where I can clear a level within 10-15 minutes.

From a visual standpoint, A-Men 2 has a solid presentation. It’s clear that developer Bloober Team wasn’t trying to achieve the highest visual fidelity that you can muster via the PlayStation 3 or PlayStation Vita. The world of A-Men 2 is presented within a similar vein as old-school sidescrollers. Each level is fleshed out with a myriad of colors that keep every bright and lively. The musical score within A-Men 2 is cheerful and lighthearted. However, the one thing you will remember most about the audio composition of this game are the catchphrases you’re a-Men spout out at random moments. My favorite ones by far is “I’m a’ firin’ mah lazer!” and ““I have the strange feeling that I am just someone’s marionette.” I’ll let that one sink in your head for a minute… … … These phrases are so oddball crazy that they stick around in your head long after you have stopped playing the game. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad, but one thing is for sure and that’s A-Men 2 will be on your mind for a good minute.

A-Men 2 is another solid outing by developer Bloober Team, but unfortunately won’t appeal to the masses as they had hoped. The game has great gameplay mechanics and solid visuals, but what most will take away from this game is that it’s extremely hard and unforgiving. Upon completing each level, you will be award a certain amount of money, which can be used to purchase new equipment to aid you in your mission. While this is certainly a good thing, you will come to realize that you need quite a bit of money before you can buy anything. Whenever one of your A-Men dies in the game, you have to start all over. Now if you were able to access one of those Saving Machines, you are good to go, but if not, you will have to traverse the level once again from the beginning.

While A-Men 2 will definitely appeal to those looking for a good challenging puzzle game, majority of gamers will simply overlook this title. It’s not because the game is horrible, but because the difficulty level is pretty high, which is which a turnoff is for many.


Review copy provided by Publisher…

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