When it comes to thrill-seeking, there’s adventurous, reckless, stupid, and just plain crazy. There can be some overlap between the four and,depending on the people involved, BASE jumpers often seem to be toward the crazy end. Still, I can’t exactly blame them. One of the bitter-sweet beauties of humanity is our inherent desire to do what others dare not. AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity (Aaaaa! for short) is an abstract love poem, of sorts, to those who are crazy enough to consider BASE jumping a hobby of theirs.
Aaaaa! is an indie PC action game that asks questions such as the following. What if “poly-structures” fell from space and got stuck in our atmosphere? What if people began to live in them as cities? What if people BASE jumped from, and between, these structures with a”reckless disregard for gravity”? If you might answer these questions with “Life would be totally extreme to the max!” then Aaaaa! may be for you! If you answered any other way, then get off of my planet, you Communist!
I kid, of course, but Aaaaa! is a game that takes the dangerous sport of BASE jumping and combines it with enough abstract absurdity to keep anyone who still regularly says “The cake is a lie!” in complete ecstasy. If you find yourself intrigued yet afraid, don’t be. The core gameplay of Aaaaa! is simple yet exhilarating. You simply jump from a floating structure in the sky and dodge others on your way to the bottom. Along the way you get “kisses” for each object you come close to and “hugs” for objects you stay close to as you fall. At the bottom of each level is one or more landing pads and often you’ll get more points for landing within a specific ring. You will, of course, have to pull your chute ahead of time. It reduces your mobility greatly but keeps you from becoming a human pancake.
As you beat levels you receive “teeth” as payment and you use these to unlock more levels, items, goofy videos,etc. Items includes triple espresso, the flip-it glove and graffiti spraypaint. The coffee temporarily slows your perception of time once per level, the glove allows you to flip off protesters or give the thumbs-up to fans, and the spraypaint allows you to tag municipal buildings. The latter two are done as you fall past, and increase your score for that level. The higher you score in a level, the more teeth you may get.
The humor is pretty out there but doesn’t get in the way. It’s like a drunk friend laying in your back seat who keeps mumbling phrases ranging from comedy gold to absolute noggin-scratchers. There’s a decent amount of truly funny stuff in Aaaaa! but much of the rest feels like inside jokes that only the developers get. This is one example of Aaaaa!‘s biggest flaw. It absolutely screams “video game!” the entire time.Everything from the menu system, to the graphics style, to the floating signs containing info, gags and perplexing inside jokes, the game does nothing to hide the fact you’re playing a game. In fact, it almost seems like it’s trying to do the opposite. In an action game like Aaaaa!,an immersive experience is important. It’s hard to practically feel the air rushing past you as your falling through an environment that looks like an 80s artist’s conception of virtual reality. Still, I prefer a simple and abstract aesthetic, like this, to failed attempts at realistic 3D graphics any day. It’s stylish, albeit a bit garish.
The environments you’ll fall through are expansive and fairly well-designed (something Screwjumper! seemed to have a problem with). The soundtrack is generic rock but it fits the game well enough and does occasionally help get you into the experience. The game doesn’t quite do enough to change-up the gameplay but the creative level design helps make up for this. There’s 80 levels and some of the more difficult stages have a lot of room for replay value and improving your previous scores. I would have liked to see a level editor and some extra modes. Multiplayer could be really great!
Aaaaa!is a good game that seems to take a bit too much pride in being indie.Its price of $14.99 USD seems a little on the high side for most people, but some will definitely find the game worth the price, as I do. Be sure to try the demo before you decide whether to buy or not!