AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity

The game I played for the first entry in this series was 1... 2... 3... KICK IT! (DROP THAT BEAT LIKE AN UGLY BABY) (aka 123KI(DTBLAUG)). AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (aka A25ARDFG) is another Dejobaan game, and the first game of theirs I played. Giving it a second chance was interesting but my impressions remained relatively the same.

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A25ARDFG doesn't have a lot of the problems that I found 123KI(DTBLAUG) to have. There are distinct levels with performance echelons clearly mapped out; I know when I had a good run or a bad run. The gameplay is extremely similar between the two games, but there are some subtle differences. A25ARDFG seems more focused on gameplay while 123KI(DTBLAUG) seemed more focused on the experience.

The gameplay is fun – once again you're BASE jumping and trying to glide as closely past buildings as possible, giving thumbs-up to your fans and thumbs-down to protestors. There may be more to the game, but it felt more or less like that was what I'd be doing for the rest of the game.

Surprisingly, my biggest gripe with the game is the UI. There's a lot of UI in this game and none of it is particularly helpful for the game. When games are about getting "in the zone" via interaction model immersion, you want to remove things that interrupt that experience. Here is the general gameplay cycle of A25ARDFG:

  1. Click the level you want to play.
  2. Read the premise of the level on the left side of the screen (if you don't read this you may be playing a video or something that isn't a level at all).
  3. Check if you have enough Teeth to unlock the level.
  4. Click the "Unlock" button on the bottom left.
  5. Get pushed to a new screen that asks if you're sure you'd like to unlock the level for the listed Tooth-price.
  6. Click "Yes" to unlock the level.
  7. Play the level (the good part).
  8. Read the score screen.
  9. Click "Select Another".
  10. Return to 1.

This is a lot of UI, clicking, and not playing of the game to deal with. A much more ideal flow would be:

  1. Click the level you want to play.
  2. Play the level (the good part).
  3. Read the score screen.
  4. Hit "Next Level" to play another level in the game.
  5. Return to 2.
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With that flow you've removed half of the steps that aren't fun. This is why Super Meat Boy has a single button push to try again, and why it takes just one tap anywhere to try a level again in Super Hexagon. If A25ARDFG just fed me more levels and the feedback loop of exciting gameplay were tighter I might have kept playing past my allotted half-hour granted with this project. However, the tedium of getting to the fun part was too much and I'm going to move on to my next game.

Join me next time as we play and discuss And Yet It Moves.

Note: After writing this I discovered that AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! for the Awesome is an updated version of this game that improves the UI in a lot of ways. My criticisms could be completely invalidated by that version of the game.