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Review: Aaaaa! - A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (Dejobaan Games)

SEPTEMBER 09, 2009

Back in June, I went out on a limb and recommended, nay, urged every Indie Games reader to give Dejobaan Games' base-jumper Aaaaa! a pre-order based on an incomplete, pre-release version.

A couple of weeks with the finished product and many broken limbs (see what I did there!) later, I am happy to reiterate my original thoughts. What Dejobaan have created is a fantastic title which is perfect for jumping (quite literally, you could say) straight into for a quick game or, as the case may frequently be, staying up until a ridiculous time in the morning playing 'just one last level' over and over. Simply put, this is nothing but pure, unadulterated fun and never tries to be anything else.

It's not exactly difficult to figure out why AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!: A Reckless Disregard For Gravity has hit home with so many people, but let me spell it out anyway - the feeling of dropping out of the sky and accelerating to breakneck speeds is immensely exhilarating, even if it is but a simulation. Drop into the mix floating buildings which you are encouraged to fly in the proximity of, and suddenly your heart is wondering why it's getting so much exercise while your backside reports a state of sitting-downness.

The other thing about falling really fast is that it's all over quite rapidly. There are 80 courses in which to make your descents and each lasts roughly between thirty seconds and two minutes. Got ten minutes to spare? Get a few jumps under your belt.

It's not all about falling though, oh no. There is score to be accumulated in the form of hugs and kisses. Each building or object you fly dangerously close to is 'kissed' with points rewarded. Continue to zip along next to said building and a 'hugging' bonus will build up. Along with glass score plates which can be smashed through, these are the main ways of building score up. Oh, you'll probably want to land as well if you want to secure those points as your own.

Along the way, there are unlockables which allow for even more score-pointery. Wave to fans, flip off protesters, graffiti up the neighbourhood, down some caffeine - and do it all while trying not to break any bones.

The balance of difficulty has shifted slightly since the pre-release. Each jump is rated out of five stars depending on score, and while I originally commented that both casual and hardcore fans will get a kick out of the ease of falling and the challenge of finding 'the perfect path' respectively, this is not so much the case anymore. It's much easier to get a good score now, and I found myself getting at least four out of five stars on most jumps. Still, there's enough challenge for those looking to five star the entire game - good luck with that!

Dejobaan have their own specific sense of humour which is a running theme throughout the whole experience and it's going to either appeal or grate. I found the written text and themes humourous enough, but certain design choices were just weird rather than funny - for example, the 'announcements' made every few levels are oddness itself, while the 'relaxation' cubes offer up some very WTF moments.

Musically, there's a decent mix of dance and guitar tunes to compliment all that descending action. Some will find it a little generic, but I genuinely did find myself humming one of the tracks after play, so it clearly did something for me.

Aaaaa! is a simple concept pulled off spectacularly. You want to feel speed and this game wants to throw you off a building. It would be best to just let it. You'll thank it when you reach the bottom.

AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! is available to grab from Steam for $15 (10). There's also a demo for those who aren't sold on the idea. It's also available at Gamersgate.

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