I and Me is puzzle platformer developed by Wish Fang & indienova and published by the amazing people at Ratalaika Games S.L. The game revolves around two black cats on an adventure throughout the seasons. Its story is told through a series of letters scattered around the environment. It expresses seeing yourself from different perspectives and how to express yourself from within. The story is rather vague, but I didn’t have a problem with it as the game is more atmospheric than anything else. So, can you find your inner self and make it through this bizarre experience?
The game is comprised of four different chapters that mimic the seasons we all face throughout everyday life. Between the seasons, you traverse throughout ninety-two increasingly difficult stages that test you around every corner. The gameplay mechanics of I and Me are the best part without a doubt. While the visuals and soundtrack are really good, without decent mechanics the game would be nothing. Thankfully, this title brought something new to the table and I think it was done pretty well. The main aspect is a rather unique one in the fact that both cats are controlled with the same input; therefore, they move in tandem unless impeded by some sort of blockade. I found this interesting and enjoyed the challenge encountered to prevent the death of either one of the characters. Maneuver between traps, pesky enemies, and even the environmental boundaries to reach two picture frames to immortalize yourself and conquer that level. Early on the game poses minimal challenge and should be a breeze, but don’t you worry, it gets harder and harder as you reach summer, autumn, and finally winter. I am talking about going from having to move side-by-side and get one cat caught on a wall, to continuously having to jump between spikes to get stuck on the smallest of opening, all while being bombarded by hordes of porcupines and bumble bees. I’m not saying the challenge isn’t fun, but it sure as hell gets pretty damn hectic.
I really enjoyed both the visuals and most of the sounds I experienced throughout my time. The backgrounds and transitions feel as if they have been ripped out of a children’s book. Vibrant colors and an interesting hand-painted appearance brings the environments to life. The soundtrack and other sounds added a special appeal to this title that I usually do not find in most soundtracks out there. A soft orchestral level brightens up the background throughout every moment and helps cut through the frustration that occurs with some of the more difficult levels. On multiple stages, I noticed my time sitting back and listening to the music to cool down when I just could not get past that one hard jump or get caught up by a barrage of bees or hedgehogs. In most cases, I enjoy the visuals leaps and bounds above the soundtrack and the latter is just an additive that may or may not help. However, the music was the selling point this time and I couldn’t be happier.
I am personally a fan of open-ended stories or ones filled with ambiguity as I believe it opens the book for the player to make their own connection and expresses your own thinking. I believe this drags you into the story even deeper and helps add to the overall enjoyment. With that said, telling a majority of the story through letters that can be collected through your adventure was an excellent way to consume it. While it could be annoying going out of your way to collect the page and then run back and still complete the level to actually read it, it is well worth it. It adds a set of secondary objectives that allow those that want more content through multi-stage puzzles to get it. It may take the story out, but for those that just want to run through the puzzles, that is fine too. You will lose nothing in the sense of gameplay, just missing extra details that help express the feelings of the identical protagonists.
In the end, I and Me is an interesting puzzle platformer that can be frustrating but is overall easier than most of the entries in the genre. The game is priced at $5 USD, so there is no reason not to pick this title up if it is your cup of tea. The slight challenge is nice for the fans, but the overall aesthetic provides a child-like wonder that would be great for the family, plus they have an adorable black cat as their main character, I mean come on!
*Note: A copy of this game was provided for the purpose of the review.
Final Score: 8.5/10
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