There are many games that are either so complex that they frustrate or they are so easy that you do not feel challenged. Some games tread a fine line between the two extremes. This problem faces most developers that attempt sequels. Do you build on the difficulty set in the first game to keep veteran players happy? Or attempt to bring new players in on the fun by keeping the difficulty down? Either way someone won’t be happy that is a certainty.
A-men 2 is a 2D side on puzzler from Bloober Team that will test your wits and patience in equal measure and certainly should keep A-Men campaigners happy. It is available from the PSN store for your Vita as either a standalone title or now as part of a bundle with its prequel A-men.
In A-men 2 you have control over a team of soldiers that each have different skills assigned to them. You use these skills to get your team past obstacles and enemies that are dotted around the map and to the exit. You can jump between team members as you wish and employ their skills as and when you need to, sometimes this will involve you needing the skills of a certain team member before you can use anothers’ skills effectively. Ultimately the level you play will need the skills of all your team members available to you at some point, but you are given the choice to work that out on your own. Some obstacles will be fairly obvious to negotiate, others will require a lot, and I mean A LOT more thought to work around. The game reminds me of Lemmings in the sense that you need to get your team to the end of the map by using the available skills and hoping you do not die in the process. Dying will start you back at the beginning of the level or if you can get to one, a save point. Of course there are multiple methods to finishing each map and your overall score and rank is based upon the collectibles you manage to find and the number of enemies you eliminate. Finishing levels is one thing but completing them for a Top rank is quite another. The game can feel quite hard early on unless you really have your head screwed on, just finishing levels at a low rank can be quite a challenge and trial and error is needed for many parts (nobody complains about Demon’s Soul’s though). I would have liked a more interactive tutorial just to get to grips with each team members skills appropriately. As it is you are given explanations and left to it. I imagine that if you have played the original A-Men this may not bother you in the slightest but unfortunately I have not and I believe that is why I may have struggled early on. Again, if you have played A-Men you may already have a good idea of what to expect and with both games being bundled together at an attractive price, you may decide to start with the first game to learn the ropes anyway.
Graphically the game has a handrawn look to the characters and backgrounds which allow for some very nice detail to come through. This style gives the game plenty of charm and initially hides the fiendish nature lurking underneath, before you realise that this game is definitely not for your kids.
Controls are through the Vita’s face buttons and shoulder triggers for movement and using skills and items, but the front touchscreen is also used to move the camera around the map, this feature is essential to plan your strategy and get the best from the game.
Even though there is no multiplayer to speak of, there are global leaderboards to encourage replayability as well as in game medals, extra objectives for each map and trophy support. This game has a lot to keep you busy and a lot to get you thinking about! I haven’t even mentioned Cross Buy yet! Oh yes, you buy this on PS3 or PS Vita and you get a copy for the other system for no extra charge. Believe me when I say that you’ll need the extra copy to give you more time with the game!
For me A-Men 2 was extremely challenging and tested my patience in many places, but is very rewarding when you finally get it right! and in my opinion A-Men 2 is a puzzler that offers a fiendish challenge to those that want one or have already played A-Men. If you do own the first game you should get on with this one comfortably and still find challenges a-plenty. For the rest of us though… I would get hold of that lovely twin pack for a bargain price and play right from the start. That should keep everyone happy and that is a certainty!
At A Glance
- Title: A-Men 2
- Publisher: Bloober Team
- System: PlayStation Vita
- Format: PSN Download
- Cross Buy: Yes
- Cross Play: No
- Online Multiplayer: No
- Memory Card Space Needed: 252Mb