10th Jul2017

Digital Shorts: ‘I and Me’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Matthew Smail

In DIGITAL SHORTS we review some of the latest video games that are only available digitally (at least in the UK), in a short-form review format. In this edition we take a look at I and Me, an interesting new puzzle game for the Nintendo Switch.

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I and Me is a platform puzzle game based on a cute little black cat and – I’ve surmised – his imaginary friend, an identical little black cat. These best buddies move through the relatively brief levels in tandem, so when one of them jumps, the other does so too in exactly the same direction and over the same distance. We’ve seen this mechanic before in other games, although it comes along relatively infrequently, and so I and Me still feels fairly unique. This is especially true because it gets the difficulty level just about spot on, and never becomes frustrating.

In fact, considering that many levels have hazards such as spikey thorns, hedgehogs, raging rivers and more, I and Me feels rather relaxed. It has a relatively muted, pastel effect art style that reminds me of Braid, and the melancholy but heart-warming story of friendship is delivered in a similar way to that of Jonathan Blow’s 2009 classic. Indeed, I and Me shares much in common with Braid not just because it feels similar, but also because it is the rare kind of puzzle-platformer that can justifiably claim to tax the brain more than the reflexes.

The game takes place across each season, and the theming of the fifteen to twenty levels that span each of them changes accordingly. This visual storytelling accompanies a poetic and whimsical written story delivered by a line or two of text between levels, and twenty, slightly more detailed pages of script located throughout the levels. These pages are the only collectibles in I and Me, but each one adds an additional wrinkle of challenge to each of  the levels in which they appear.

Gameplay itself is incredibly simple, with only really basic movement controls and a jump button used. At the beginning of each level, our black cat and his buddy appear somewhere in the vicinity of each other, and must reach two identical wooden frames at exactly the same time in order to progress. As the seasons change, achieving this becomes progressively harder, and levels feature not just direct threats to the cats, but also spatial awareness and problem solving challenges. There’s no time limit on levels, and very few include sequences of continuous threat that are demanding on the reflexes – most are proper, classic puzzles.

I and Me is an incredibly fun and extremely likeable platform-puzzler that works quickly to draw you in with its charm and easy gameplay, but keeps you hooked (or clawed) through an inquisitive narrative and a steadily rising, but never frustrating, level of challenge. There’s loads to do here as well, and for just £8.99, I and Me is exceptional value for money. None of the Nintendo Switch’s standout features are used, but the game is extremely well suited to handheld play, and looks gorgeous on the small screen.

***** 5/5

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