So Many Me

A colorful and cartoonish exterior veils So Many Me’s hellish difficulty. A mix between platforming puzzles and highly reflexive gameplay turns an apparently childish videogame into a nightmare to get through, but I’m getting ahead of myself. This game approaches you with the simple concept of jumping towards your goal and spices it up with a “Mes” gimmick. To the layman, this translates to clones that follow the main Me around as you move across the screen. Prepare for confusion!

so_many_me_pc_feature01
so_many_me_pc_feature01

The main character of the game (the original “Me”) is Filo, a little hyperactive green blob with a tendency for fourth wall breaking and a bit of a cocky side. He wakes up one day and a slight nudge from another character suddenly thrusts Filo into the biggest adventure of his life. The goal? To save the world of course! During his adventure, Filo will find treasure and power ups that make the game easier, as well as special items that generates a new Me that will follow and mimic all of Filo’s actions. Upon receiving the first Me, the tutorial will explain that Filo and his clones are capable of shifting their gooey form solid, even in mid-air, thus creating sticky platforms. This is the bread and butter of the game: a technique that enables you to turn yourself and the Mes into platforms to enable traversing through each level by morphing, clinging, and jumping. Add traps, enemies and other obstacles to the salad and you have a tasty combination to munch on. Colored fruits enable Mes to morph into different forms (bouncy or ascending platforms for example) and mounts that force the player to figure out how to combine the properties of each form in order to get through the challenges.

so_many_me_pc_feature02
so_many_me_pc_feature02

With only directional, jump and morph buttons, the control layout is simple to learn but very difficult to master. For instance, one of the directional buttons on the keyboard is used to unmorph and recall the last Me that transformed, but is also used to cling off of them, which can lead to many unintentional input screw-ups during heated moments (like being chased by a boss or attempting to outmaneuver a trap during a short window of time). With unlimited lives but only one hit per attempt, the game is egregiously unforgiving to the point of ridiculousness. The checkpoint system is completely messed up in the sense that it resets the position of every Me placed on the screen. If one of your little blobs die, the game puts them all together into arbitrary check points (usually near the place of your demise), forcing the player to redo multi-part puzzles from scratch. This turns the game from an enjoyable noggin' teaser into a tedious chore. Especially so when hunting for the "shinnies" collectibles found in each level that require mad accuracy and deep investment in the exploitable game mechanics.

Bosses challenge you to utilize all that has been learned to outmaneuver their attacks and beat them. With no extra instructions or hand-holding (which I believe is a good thing to incentive player agency) they offer a significant difficulty spike for each world. Unlike the levels themselves, boss stages offer predetermined checkpoints that can be reached by advancing through the fight. However, getting killed means having to start over with the boss at full health, turning some of the simpler monsters into a royal pain in the butt.

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so_many_me_pc_feature03

The game itself is simple and to the point. For some reason, reaching the goal at the end of every stage is easy in comparison to solving the puzzles for every item, which makes me question the need for a “goal.” Why not just make it so you need all three items in order to proceed? Sure, customizing your looks or gaining some of the more pointless extra abilities aren’t necessary to beat the game, but they’re sometimes so hard to get that THEY end up representing the grueling challenge of the game. Speaking of challenges, if you’re feeling especially masochistic, feel free to try out the Clockwork Levels in the hub world once they’re available: No checkpoints whatsoever, and the money pickups you’ve touched will reset location when you die; with dozens of spikes, cheaply positioned enemies and pitfalls, these challenge stages are truly for the elite that have mastered the game.

Despite these complaints, I liked the game from an aesthetic point of view. It has beautifully composed melodies that remind me of the old Rayman games: Serene and environmental. Every world counts with its own sonorous accompaniment that helps the backgrounds blend together and complement the experience. The story, although with its own blend of silliness, is enjoyable and finishes properly. From a gameplay point of view however, I would not replay it simply because of its consistently aggravating tendency to force you into redoing every puzzle after making unintentional mistakes.

[star25]